Turkish Journal of Botany




The stemless carline thistle (Carlina acaulis subsp. caulescens) is a plant species commonly found at lower altitudes in the Central European mountains. Although it is still relatively frequent in the area, there has been a decrease in its numbers in the last decades. This research aims to determine the impact of the management of mountain mesic meadows and habitat factors on the morphometric variability of C. acaulis and species composition patterns of accompanying vegetation. The study was carried out in the central part of the Sudetes Mountains (SW Poland) on a network of 42 plots randomly established within mesic grasslands. Topographic factors and soil granulometry, physical properties, and nutrient concentrations were studied. The set of morphometric parameters was measured in situ. Canonical correspondence analysis (CCA) was used to analyse the vegetation species composition. The analyses indicated that exchangeable magnesium concentrations and maximal soil water capacity had the strongest effect on the grassland plant species composition among the studied environmental variables. These levels were also significantly influenced by grazing management. After biometric analyses, the leaf rosette diameter was selected as the best morphometric measure of the C. acaulis individual’s fitness. These plants showed the most vigorous growth on mowed meadows and abandoned ones significantly inhabited by grazing animals.


Grassland communities, habitat factors, stemless carline thistle

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