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Seed germination of Schinus molle L. (Anacardiaceae) as related to its anatomy and dormancy alleviation

  • Marcio P. Pereira (a1), Felipe F. Corrêa (a1), Marcelo Polo (a2), Evaristo M. de Castro (a1), Amanda Á. Cardoso (a3) and Fabricio J. Pereira (a1)...


The seeds of Schinus molle are referred to as displaying physical dormancy because of their water-impermeable endocarp. Therefore, this work aimed to evaluate the germination of S. molle seeds as related to environmental conditions, scarification, storage time and seed anatomy. Various experiments were conducted to test the alleviation of dormancy in newly collected and stored seeds. Acid-scarified seeds incubated under continuous light at 25°C showed greatest vigour and germination. The separation of seeds by specific gravity revealed a higher germination percentage for those seeds that sank. In addition, dry storage alleviated dormancy with a remarkable increase in the various germination parameters. Overall, germination traits decreased after prolonged storage, but even after 12 months the means for germination parameters for stored seeds were still higher than those of newly collected ones. S. molle seeds remain attached to parts of the fruit mesocarp and endocarp. The mesocarp contains several layers of parenchyma showing secretory cavities. The endocarp consists of three layers of sclereids surrounding the embryo. Acid scarification strongly changed the structure of the external layers in the mesocarp, digesting parenchyma cells and removing the contents from both parenchyma cells and the secretory cavities; this improved water uptake during imbibition, which occurred only at the carpellary hilar slit. In conclusion, S. molle seeds are positively photoblastic and show physiological dormancy which can be alleviated by acid scarification and dry storage. Seeds can be stored for over 12 months without significant losses in germination parameters compared to newly collected seeds.


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