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Very fast germination: additional records and relationship to embryo size and phylogeny

  • Robert F. Parsons (a1), Filip Vandelook (a2) and Steven B. Janssens (a2)


Recently, a list has been published of angiosperms capable of germinating in less than 24 h (‘very fast germination’). Here, we add three families and 23 species to that list. The main extra families complement ecological groups already recognized – the Cactaceae into the aridity-adapted group and the Tamaricaceae into the floodplain-adapted group. These amended findings on very fast germination (VFG) are integrated into the recent work on the functional ecology of embryo size. They confirm the important connection between germination speed and embryo to seed ratio. Plotting the plant orders containing VFG species on a phylogenetic tree shows that VFG has evolved multiple times throughout angiosperm history, including at least three times within the Caryophyllales. The fact that species with VFG are mainly restricted to advanced clades shows that VFG is a derived trait that evolved as an adaptation to either arid, saline or floodplain habitats.


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