Twenty-day cohorts of corn poppy were grown in the presence or absence of barley, and seedling survival, biomass accumulation and allocation, plant reproduction, and seed dormancy were measured. Seedling survivorship and biomass accumulation differed strongly among cohorts and were influenced by crop competition. In the absence of crop competition, plants from the first three cohorts (emerging October to January) had 900% higher biomass and 160% more seeds per plant than later cohorts (emerging January to April). Crop competition reduced cohort fitness; for example, in 2003 to 2004, corn poppy biomass was reduced 57 to 96%, and seed production 77 to 97%. Seeds collected from plants that had emerged in spring were less dormant, and thus, germination and emergence of these seeds were higher (25% higher and 200 to 600% higher, respectively) than those for seeds collected from other cohorts. Environmental factors at the time of seed formation may be responsible for the observed differences in dormancy. Cohort-dependent emergence, growth, reproduction, and dormancy have relevant implications for corn poppy management and demography in agricultural systems in northeastern Spain. The dormant seeds produced by autumn to winter cohorts will be the main contributors to the seed bank and weed population shift in subsequent generations. For efficient corn poppy management, the control of cohorts emerging before or with the crop in a cereal field is essential.
Nomenclature: Corn poppy, Papaver rhoeas L.; barley, Hordeum vulgare L., ‘Graphic’.