Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Arvid A. Boe


Germination, forage yield and quality, and inflorescence characteristics were studied in populations of Beckmannia syzigachne Fern., a valuable wetland forage species in the northern states. Germination and seedling growth differences among populations of Beckmannia from South Dakota, Montana, and Alaska were investigated. Caryopses of these populations produced simultaneously in the greenhouse under uniform growing conditions were subjected to 3 constant (15,20, and 25 C) and 2 alternating (15-30 and 20-30 C) temperature treatments. Alaska caryopses had significantly higher percent germination at the constant temperatures than did South Dakota or Montana caryopses. No significant differences among populations were detected for the 15-30 C treatment. The Alaska population had significantly faster rates of germination and early seedling growth than the other populations. South Dakota and Montana populations are apparently inhibited from germination at constant temperatures by a germination restriction mechanism not exhibited by the Alaska population. Beckmannia populations from South Dakota and Montana were studied over a 2-year period for forage yield and quality parameter differences. No significant differences among populations were detected for forage yield, however differences in forage quality parameters existed between harvest dates and populations when harvested early. Montana populations, which were generally higher in forage quality, produced significantly less stem tissue and higher leaf-to-stem ratios than the South Dakota populations. Inflorescence and spikelet characteristics also differed among 6 populations studied. Populations from Montana and South Dakota contained from 7.5 to 33.8 percent biflowered spikelets. The Alaska population contained no biftowered spikelets. Larger spikelets had a higher probability of containing 2 caryopses than the smaller spikelets. The Alaska population had significantly longer inflorescences which supported more spikelets; however, spikelet bracts and caryopses weights were smaller compared to Montana and South Dakota populations. Variability among populations with respect to germination and inflorescence characteristics suggests ecotypic adaptations of the populations to their respective original collection sites. High seed production was indicated for all the populations. Stand longevity and persistence will depend on utilization, harvesting regime, and other management inputs. Thus, as a potential cultivated forage species this grass has considerable promise.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Forage plants -- Growth



Wetland plants



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University