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Deep complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of Viburnum plicatum var. formosanum (Adoxaceae) from subtropical mountains

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 September 2021

Shun-Ying Chen
Lienhuachih Research Center, Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, 43 Hualong Lane, Yuchi Township, Nantou County55543, Taiwan
Chiung-Pin Liu
Department of Forestry, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung City40227, Taiwan
Carol C. Baskin
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY40506-0225, USA Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY40546-0312, USA
Ching-Te Chien*
Division of Silviculture, Taiwan Forestry Research Institute, 53 Nan-Hai Road, Taipei10066, Taiwan
*Correspondence: Ching-Te Chien, E-mail:


Viburnum is a temperate-zone genus that also occurs in mountains of South America and Malesia, and seeds of many species have morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). Information on the level of MPD in seeds of species in various clades of Viburnum potentially would increase our understanding of the evolutionary relationships between the nine levels of MPD. Our aim was to determine the level of MPD in seeds of Viburnum plicatum var. formosanum that is endemic to mountains (1800–3000 m a.s.l.) in Taiwan and a member of the Lutescentia clade. The temperature requirements for embryo growth and root and shoot emergence and response of seeds to gibberellic acid (GA) were determined. No fresh seeds germinated during 16 weeks of incubation at 15/5, 20/10, 25/15, 30/20 or 25°C. Embryo growth and root emergence occurred during moist cold stratification at 5°C or at a temperature sequence of 15/5 to 5°C. During cold stratification, embryos length increased from 0.76 ± 0.06 to 3.40 ± 0.26 mm and the embryo length:seed length ratio from 0.20 ± 0.02 to 0.68 ± 0.07. In a temperature sequence simulating field conditions, embryos grew inside seeds at 5°C, roots emerged at 15/5°C and shoots emerged at 20/10°C. The optimum temperature for embryo growth was 5°C. Neither GA3 nor GA4 was effective in promoting root emergence. We conclude that seeds of V. plicatum var. formosanum have deep complex MPD, which is a first report for Viburnum. Dormancy release during the cool season at high elevations helps to ensure that seeds germinate at the beginning of the warm season.

Research Paper
Copyright © The Author(s), 2021. Published by Cambridge University Press

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