Low levels of regional differentiation and little evidence for local adaptation in rare arable plants

Marion Lang, Harald Albrecht, Marlene Rudolph, Johannes Kollmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A better understanding of regional differentiation and local adaptation of rare arable plants is essential for the development of suitable methods for the reintroduction of these species. We set up F1 and F2 greenhouse experiments with 4–12 source populations of five rare arable plant species to test for genetically based differentiation in biomass production and phenology in South Germany. For three species, i.e. Arnoseris minima, Consolida regalis and Teesdalia nudicaulis, reciprocal transplant experiments were performed in arable fields to investigate local adaptation in plant establishment as well as biomass production to the northern or southern regions of three seed transfer zones. We found low regional differentiation, but provenance-specific responses to drought stress in Legousia speculum-veneris biomass and A. minima phenology. Moreover, little evidence was identified for local adaptation, while significant differences were seen in the performance between the transplant sites and study years, indicating a high phenotypic variability. Our results suggest that the current seed zones are suitable for the seed transfer of rare arable plants in the study region. Thus, there is a low risk of maladaptation when using autochthonous seed sources within the seed zones, but a high extinction risk of these species and their respective ecosystem functions if no active restoration is done, including transplant measures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-63
Number of pages12
JournalBasic and Applied Ecology
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Arable flora
  • Biomass
  • Drought stress
  • Phenology
  • Phenotypic variation
  • Provenance
  • Reciprocal transplants
  • Seed zone
  • Threatened species


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