of Ferocactus recurvus, Neobuxbaumia tetetzo, and Opuntia pilifera exhibit a C3 metabolism, which can increase the seedling growth rate during this phase and partially compensate for the lower PPF levels.

Because suitable conditions for seed germination and seedling establishment for many cactus species occur beneath the canopies of nurse plants, cacti can have a clumped distribution pattern in association with trees and shrubs. Moreover, plants may interact competitively with individuals of their own species (i.e., intraspecific competition) and/or with their nurse plants (i.e., interspecific competition). Carnegiea gigantea competes intraspecifi-cally, affecting the rate of water uptake, the relative amount of stored water, apical growth, and the reproductive potential (McAuliffe and Janzen 1986). Interspecific competition between cacti and their nurse plants has been reported for C. gigantea and Cercidium microphyllum in the Sonoran Desert (McAuliffe 1984b) and for Neobuxbaumia tetetzo and Mimosa luisana in the Tehuacán Valley (Valiente-Banuet et al. 1991b; Flores-Martínez et al. 1998). The intensity of this interaction between cacti and their nurse plants varies with the age of both interactants as well as among dry and wet years, leading to the eventual elimination of either species depending on which had a competitive advantage (McAuliffe 1984b; Valiente-Banuet et al. 1991b; Flores-Martínez et al. 1998).

TABLE 6.2. (continued)


Nurse plant(s)


M. microcarpa

Opuntia fulgida

McAuliffe (1984a)

M. thornberi

Celtis pallida Lycium andersonii L. berlandieri Olneya tesota Zizyphus obtusifolia

Suzán et al. (1996)

Neobuxbaumia tetetzo

Caesalpinia melanadenia Castela tortuosa Eupatorium odoratum

Valiente-Banuet et al. (1991a)

Opuntia leptocaulis

Larrea tridentata

Yeaton (1978)

Peniocereus greggii

Celtis pallida

Suzán et al. (1996)

P. striatus

Lycium andersonii L. berlandieri Olneya tesota Zizyphus obtusifolia

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