|INDIVIDUAL FATES OF NEOTTIANTHE CUCULLATA PLANTS IN WIGIERSKI NATIONAL PARK, NE POLAND
Population dynamics of Neottianthe cucullata, an endangered orchid has been studied in Wigierski National Park in NE Poland. During six-year study (1998-2003) on a 5 x 8m plot fates of all individuals have been traced.
Twelve of ninety-six individuals observed in 1998 were still present in 2003. In 1999, 2000 and 2002 recruitment of about thirty individuals per year was observed, only in 2001 it reached a maximum of 80 individuals. It was probably caused by mild winter of 2000/2001 and high precipitation in spring (May). This favourable year was followed by a relatively severe winter of 2001/2002, which resulted in increased mortality. Unfavourable conditions in 2002/2003 also caused very low recruitment of only 2 individuals and high mortality. The latter finding may be biased by the ability of orchids to survive unfavourable periods underground. However only a small proportion of plants (8%) observed during this study have entered a dormant stage. Of 43 individuals observed in 1998 74% flowered at least once, 23% at least twice and one at least three times. In 1999-2003 cohorts 83% of individuals flowered once and 17% twice. Of all 90 flowering episodes 51 occurred after two-leaf stage, 15 after previous flowering, 4 after one-leaf stage, 4 after surviving a year underground and 9 (not counting 1998) in the first year observed.
Higher mortality and lower recruitment due to low temperatures in winter is similar as in some other orchid species, while both tendency to flower only once and small proportion of plants entering a dormant phase are rare among other European terrestrial orchids.