Comparative study on grasslands dominated by Festuca vaginata and F. pseudovaginata in the Carpathian Basin

Gábor Szabó, Zita Zimmermann, Andrea Catorci, P. Csontos, Barnabás Wichmann, Szilárd Szentes, Attila Barczi, Károly Penksza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


The aim of our study was to reveal the differences in the species composition and soil properties of open sandy grasslands dominated by different Festuca species, Festuca vaginata and F. pseudovaginata. Due to the arid conditions, sandy grasslands are generally covered by xerothermic vegetation in which F. vaginata is a typical dominant species. Festuca pseudovaginata, a species newly described by the authors, can also gain dominance in sandy grasslands. However, species composition and soil properties of grasslands dominated by this recently discovered species are still undiscovered. Based on previous coenological studies, we hypothesised that the grasslands characterised by the endemic F. vaginata are more species-rich than those with F. pseudovaginata. Coenological sampling was carried out in May 2009 at two study sites using the Braun-Blanquet method in quadrats of 2 m × 2 m. Five relevés were sampled in stands dominated by F. vaginata and F. pseudovaginata respectively at two study sites in Central Hungary, resulting in a total of twenty relevés. Analyses were based on the cover scores of vascular plant species and cryptogam crust and values of seven soil properties (pH [KCl], pH [H2O], humus, total N, Ca, P2O5 and K2O) measured in the 0-15 and 15-30 cm soil layers. Soil properties of the grasslands dominated by F. pseudovaginata and F. vaginata (dependent variables) were compared by linear mixed models, where 'grassland type' was the fixed factor and 'site nested in grassland type' was considered as random factor. Data were analysed by cluster analysis, fusion algorithm was a combinatorial method (minimising increase of variance), and the correlation was used as comparative function. We compared the cover of subordinate species by Mann-Whitney U test. We found that F. pseudovaginata and F. vaginata samples were well separated, and grasslands dominated by F. pseudovaginata had nearly two times more species than those dominated by F. vaginata. Based on the cluster analyses using plant cover and upper 0-15 cm soil layer data, F. pseudovaginataand F. vaginata groups could be well separated. Linear mixed models revealed that F. vaginata grasslands were typical on soils with higher pH, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium contents compared to F. pseudovaginata grasslands, which indicates a tight connection between the properties of the upper soil layer and the vegetation in sandy grasslands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Coenosystematical elements
  • Open sandy grasslands
  • Pannonian Biogeographical Region
  • Sandy soil
  • Soil properties
  • Species composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Plant Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative study on grasslands dominated by Festuca vaginata and F. pseudovaginata in the Carpathian Basin'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Szabó, G., Zimmermann, Z., Catorci, A., Csontos, P., Wichmann, B., Szentes, S., Barczi, A., & Penksza, K. (2017). Comparative study on grasslands dominated by Festuca vaginata and F. pseudovaginata in the Carpathian Basin. Tuexenia, 37(1), 415-429.