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Morphological diversity of the afares oak (Quercus afares) compared to the cork oak (Quercus suber) and the zeen oak (Quercus canariensis) in Kroumirie (Aïn Zana)

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1 Laboratory of Forest Ecology, National Researches Institute of Rural Engineering, Water and Forests, University of Carthage, Tunis, Tunisia

Abstract - By its geographical position, Tunisia presents a great diversity of biotopes occupied by an important floristic richness presenting the various plant species. It includes among others the genus Quercus which is represented by five species, two of which are deciduous (zeen oak and afares oak) and three sclerophyll (cork oak, kermes oak and holm oak). A morphological study of afares oak compared to zeen oak and cork oak was carried out under semi-controlled conditions (in the nursery) where the results show a higher germination rate in afares oak (96%), a morphological variability of acorns and leaves increase in height in cork oak (12.04 cm) compared to zeen oak (8.76 cm) and afares oak (5.1 cm). Under natural conditions (on the ground) dendrometric measurements carried out on adult trees show that the height is greater in afares oak and zeen oak (about 15 m) and to a lesser degree in cork oak (about 10 m) while the leaves showed a great morphological variability except for the cork oak and the afares oak where the latter constitutes a forest species of intermediate form between the two oaks mainly due to the mix of stands in the station. The afares oak species differs from other acorn size oak species, especially with cork oak as well as the increase in height and diameter (young plants and adult trees) as well as the size of leaves. All these parameters of afares oak are close to that of zeen oak and cork oak at the same time while retaining an intermediate form between them and admitting the idea of hybridism.

Keywords: Quercus afares, Quercus canariensis, Quercus suber, germination, morphological parameters.



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