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Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum L.) is one of the worst weeds in crop fields, and it spreads mainly by the dispersal of seeds. Temperature is one of the key environmental factors affecting seed germination. We investigated the seed germination response to temperature in six populations of S. nigrum from mid- to northern China and derived mathematical models from germination data. The results showed that S. nigrum seeds exhibit distinct germination responses to temperature within the range of 15 to 35 C. The optimum temperature for populations XJ1600, JL1697, and HLJ2134 was 30 C, and those for populations NMG1704, HN2160, and LN2209 were 25, 20, and 15 C, respectively. Based on the nonlinear fitting and thermal time models, the predicted base temperatures of the six populations ranged from 2.3 to 6.4 C, and the required accumulated growing degree days (GDD) ranged from 50.3 to 106.0 C·d. The base temperatures and the accumulated GDD for germination differed among populations, and there was a significant negative correlation. HLJ2134 population required a high base temperature and accumulated GDD for germination, indicating that it might be highly adapted to a warmer and moister environment. Based on the different germination responses of S. nigrum populations to temperature, the thermal time model reflects an innate relationship between base temperature and accumulated GDD required for initiation of seed germination, which provides a better basis for predicting seedling emergence and the timing for optimal control of S. nigrum under field conditions.
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