Differences in germination and seedling establishment of alien and native Impatiens species.

Irena Perglová 1 , Jan Pergl 1 , Hana Skálová 1 , Lenka Moravcová 1 , Vojtěch Jarošík 1 2 & Petr Pyšek 2 1


  1. Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, CZ-252 43 Průhonice, Czech Republic
  2. Department of Ecology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 01 Praha 2, Czech Republic



Comparative studies of closely related species may provide useful insights into the effect of species traits on invasion success since some of the biases associated with multispecies studies, such as phylogenetic effects, are considerably reduced by virtue of the experimental design. In this study seed and seedling traits of three congeneric alien species in Europe, differing in their region of origin, invasion status and history (Impatiens glandulifera, I. parviflora, I. capensis), were compared with the native I. noli-tangere in laboratory and common garden experiments. Seeds of I. glandulifera required the shortest period of stratification, germinated well both under laboratory and experimental garden conditions and the seedlings produced more biomass than those of the other species. Seeds of I. parviflora required a longer period of stratification, had the highest percentage germination but seedling emergence in the experimental garden was poorer than in I. glandulifera. Neither of these two species invasive in the Czech Republic formed soil seed banks. The native I. noli-tangere had the lowest percentage germination and formed a short-term persistent seed bank. Impatiens capensis germinated well in the laboratory, had the highest seedling emergence in the garden and its seed remained viable in the soil for three years. This indicates that in terms of germination and emergence, this species is comparable with the two invasive alien congeners and there appear to be no constraints to its invasion in the Czech Republic where it does not occur yet. Its absence may be due to a low propagule pressure; in the national flora I. capensis is listed as a potential future invader without mentioning it being cultivated in this country. Our results indicate that differences in the invasiveness of three alien species of balsams in the temperate zone of Central Europe can be attributed, at least in part, to their differing performances in the early stages of their life cycle. The short period of time required for seed stratification and the high seedling biomass of I. glandulifera might have increased its invasion potential compared to other Impatiens species occurring in the Czech Republic.


alien species, congeneric comparison, dormancy, germination, Impatiens, invasion, RGR, seed bank

How to cite

Perglová I., Pergl J., Skálová H., Moravcová L., Jarošík V. & Pyšek P. (2009) Differences in germination and seedling establishment of alien and native Impatiens species. – Preslia 81: 357375