Die Schachblume (Fritillaria meleagris L.) in Nordwest-Europa, insbesondere in den Niederlanden: Ökologie, Verbreitung, pflanzensoziologische Lage
Horsthuis, M. A. P.; Corporaal, A.; Schaminée, J. H. J.; Westhoff, V.
Fritillaria meleagris, an attractive species, is largely restricted to seasonally-flooded, rather nutrient-rich alluvial soils. Here, it occurs in meadows, woodlands, and communities dominated by tall forbs. The life cycle of the species comprises six phases. After germination (in February/March), a sterile phase of about four to five years finally results in a so-called candlestick form. The subsequent fertile phase may last another 25 years. The annual cycle of the species can be divided into seven phases with two active periods in spring and autumn. Winter Hooding of the habitat not only constitutes an important mechanism for seed dispersal, but also results in low soil temperatures in early spring, preventing a fast development of non-bulbous competitive species. Fritillaria meleagris is a European lowland species, with a nowadays widespread but scattered distribution. The two major areas include the northwest and the southeast of the continent. In the northern part of its area, the richest stands are found in the river valleys of the Loire, the Elbe and the Overijssel Vecht. Syntaxonomically, distinction must be made between grasslands and other formations. In the Netherlands, all grasslands with Fritillaria meleagris belong to the Fritillario-Alopecuretum pratensis, that can be assigned to the alliance Arrhenatherion elatioris (class Molinio- Arrhenatheretea). Within this association, three subassociations can be distinguished, viz. cynosuretosum, typicum, and calthetosum. The subassociation cynosuretosum shows affinity to the Cynosurion cristati. The subassociation calthetosum can be seen as a transition towards Calthion palustris. The communities dominated by tall forbs belong to the Filipendulion, the woodland communities to the Alno-Padion. On an international level, Fritillaria meleagris can be regarded as a character-species of the Molinio-Arrhenatheretea, provided that for each individual area the species is indicating syntaxa of lower syntaxonomical ranks within this class.