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Indeterminate development in desiccation-sensitive seeds of Quercus robur L.

  • W. E. Finch-Savage (a1) and P. S. Blake (a2)

Abstract

Fruit and seed development in Quercus robur L. were studied on a single tree over five consecutive seasons. Patterns of growth in the cotyledons and embryonic axes differed between years and resulted in seeds of very different sizes. Moisture content at shedding also differed between years, and late-shed seeds had lower moisture contents than early-shed seeds. Moisture content at shedding was negatively correlated with desiccation tolerance. Seed development in Q. robur therefore appeared indeterminate and did not end in a period of rapid desiccation.

Sensitivity to desiccation in Q. robur was not due to an inability to accumulate dehydrin proteins, ABA or soluble sugars, substances that have been linked with the acquisition of desiccation tolerance in orthodox seeds. There were great similarities between several aspects of Q. robur seed development and that of orthodox seeds before the latter entered the terminal phase of rapid desiccation. This pattern of seed development contrasted with that reported for the highly desiccation-sensitive seeds of Avicennia marina.

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Keywords

Indeterminate development in desiccation-sensitive seeds of Quercus robur L.

  • W. E. Finch-Savage (a1) and P. S. Blake (a2)

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