Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels flowering phenology

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Argan (Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels) flowering was observed at Ait Melloul, Ait Baha and Argana, three sites in the south-west of Morocco during two seasons, 1994–95 and 1995–96. Glomerule count was monitored on first-year and on last-year growth shoot every twenty days. Season was the primary source of variation of glomerule count on argan first-year and last-year growth shoots. The first season was very dry when flowering began late April, while the second was very humid and flowering started early December. In both cases flowering precocity was associated to precipitation precocity, i.e. flowering would commence when approximately 100 mm rain was accumulated. High positive correlation between glomerule count and precipitation were observed. But, considering the two seasons, glomerule count always attained its population maximum in spring even if differences were observed between sites. However, intensity and duration of the peak were also distinct depending on shoot type: on first-year growth shoot, glomerules were abundant but would last for a short period, whereas on last–year growth shoot, they were less frequent but would last for a longer period. Not all trees flowered during a season, although some trees flowered every season, showing the extremes of the large variability observed for glomerule count abundance and duration within argan populations.

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