Pseudobombax tomentosum and P. longiflorum are common trees in the Cerrado region, but the former species is more common in forest edges while the later is present in open cerrado areas. This work aimed to investigate differences in seed germination and seedling growth in these species, from seed collected from Cerrado areas in Central Brazil. For this, a seed germination experiment was designed and included four replicates with 25 seeds per species; seeds were randomly distributed in the germination chamber. To evaluate initial seedling growth, seedlings height was measured up to 67 days after seedling emergence; besides, some of these seedlings were grown for biomass evaluation during nine months. Results showed that seeds of the two species had the same germinability (near 100%) and mean germination time (ca. 12 days). However, P. longiflorum showed a more spread seed germination through time, with higher values of coefficient of variation in germination time and uncertainty index; and lower values of synchronization than P. tomentosum. The two species showed basically the same growth pattern, but lower values for height of apical meristem, diameter of underground structures (mostly roots), dry mass of shoots, underground structure and total mass of seedlings in P. tomentosum were obtained, compared to P. longiflorum. Both species allocated more dry mass to underground structures in detriment of shoot. This probably allows resprouting behavior which prevents hydric stress and detrimental fire action typical of the open Cerrado areas.
Keywords: Cerrado, seed germination measurements, Neotropical savannas, plant growth, seedling growth, Pseudobombax longiflorum, Pseudobombax tomentosum.