Please note, due to essential maintenance online transactions will not be possible between 02:30 and 04:00 BST, on Tuesday 17th September 2019 (22:30-00:00 EDT, 17 Sep, 2019). We apologise for any inconvenience.
To send content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about sending content to .
To send content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about sending to your Kindle.
Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Light conditions provide important information about the best time and place for seedling establishment. Photoinhibition of seed germination (PISG), defined as the partial or complete suppression of germination under white light, has been interpreted as a physiological adaptation to avoid germination at or near the soil surface. This review is the first report of an all-inclusive, fully quantitative analysis of PISG in seed plants. Pertinent data available from the published literature for 301 taxa from 59 families and 27 orders were assessed. The association of PISG with several plant and seed traits allowed us to consider the adaptive significance of PISG in relation to plant life histories and the natural environments. As no gymnosperm has been found to be truly photoinhibited, it seems that PISG is apomorphic to flowering plants (especially monocots). Seeds of most taxa with PISG have a dark colour and intermediate mass, mostly in the range 1 to 27 mg. PISG is absent from humid tropical regions and from cold climates, but it is strongly associated with open, disturbed and dry habitats. An intriguing implication of PISG is the formation of a soil-surface seed bank. Taken together, these results clearly indicate that PISG is a physiological adaptation to avoid germination on the soil surface, where conditions are not suitable for seedling establishment. PISG is probably much more frequent in seed plants than previously thought. Thus, laboratory experiments should be conducted under well-characterized light and dark conditions.
Hypseocharis is a genus endemic to the high Andes and sister to all other Geraniaceae genera. Regarding its basal position in Geraniaceae evolution, its germination ecology can provide important insights into the early evolution of physical dormancy. Imbibition tests performed on seeds of two Hypseocharis populations from Bolivia indicate that their seeds indeed have physical dormancy like all other Geraniaceae. These results indicate that physical dormancy in Geraniaceae evolved during the Eocene before the uplift of the Andes mountains and before the events that led to the cross-Atlantic disjunct distribution of Geraniacae.
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.
Seed germination is a crucial event in a plant's life cycle. Because temperature and water availability are important regulators of seed germination, this process will likely be influenced by global warming. Insight into the germination process under global warming is thus crucial, and requires the study of a wide range of water availability and temperature conditions. As hydrothermal time (HTT) models evaluate seed germination for any combination of water potential and temperature, they can be suitable to predict global warming effects on seed germination. We studied the germination characteristics of the high Andean endemic tree species Polylepis besseri (Rosaceae), using HTT models. We were especially interested in the potential effects of global warming on seed germination. Assembly of HTT models for P. besseri was fairly straightforward due to the lack of a seed dormancy mechanism. The models allowed prediction of Polylepis germination under constant and alternating temperatures. Initially, a global warming induced increase in the field minimum and mean temperature will increase P. besseri germination, but as maximum temperatures rise above the optimum temperature for the species, seed germination will become jeopardized. Effects of global warming on seed germination are currently considerably underexplored. HTT models prove to be useful tools to study a plant species' general germination characteristics, and how they may become affected under global warming. For the endemic mountain tree species P. besseri, we predict an increase, followed by a decrease of seed germination under global warming.
Among 14 species of herbaceous Fabaceae, all six winter annuals show a marked non-deep physiological dormancy of the embryo in addition to physical dormancy. This physiological dormancy is apparent at 23°C, but not at lower temperatures of 10°C and 5°C and disappears after 3 months of dry storage. These results corroborate the hypothesis that combinational dormancy is a double safety mechanism for delaying germination during summer: physical dormancy postpones germination, and even in early softened seeds germination is prevented by physiological dormancy of the embryo. Softened, swollen seeds of Medicago arabica tolerate a subsequent desiccation and remain viable even after five cycles of dehydration and rehydration. The rate of natural softening of M. arabica seeds increases exponentially at higher temperatures, with a Q10 between 3.4 and 5.1, and obeys the Arrhenius equation. This indicates that a chemical reaction might be involved in breakdown of physical dormancy. Winter annuals with hard seeds show similar properties as winter annuals with permeable seeds: the need for afterripening and requirement of lower temperatures delay germination until autumn. Only one species, Vicia sativa, loses physical dormancy during dry storage. Drying during summer might be a supplementary cue for germination in autumn.
A low-temperature requirement for dormancy break has been observed frequently in temperate-climate Apiaceae species, resulting in spring emergence of seedlings. A series of experiments was performed to identify dormancy-breaking requirements of Aegopodium podagraria, a nitrophilous perennial growing mainly in mildly shaded places. In natural conditions, the embryos in seeds of A. podagraria grow in early winter. Seedlings were first observed in early spring and seedling emergence peaked in March and April. Experiments using temperature-controlled incubators revealed that embryos in seeds of A. podagraria grow only at low temperatures (5°C), irrespective of a pretreatment at higher temperatures. Seeds did not germinate immediately after embryo growth was completed, instead an additional cold stratification period was required to break dormancy completely. Once dormancy was broken, seeds germinated at a range of temperatures. Addition of gibberellic acid (GA3) had a positive effect on embryo growth in seeds incubated at 10°C and at 23°C, but it did not promote germination. Since seeds of A. podagraria have a low-temperature requirement for embryo growth and require an additional chilling period after completion of embryo growth, they exhibit characteristics of deep complex morphophysiological dormancy.
Torilis japonica (Apiaceae) has a widespread distribution, extending from western Europe to eastern Asia. In Europe, it usually behaves as a spring-germinating biennial species. Ripe seeds of T. japonica have an underdeveloped embryo and can persist in the soil for several years. The aim of this research was to reveal the mechanisms regulating the seasonal emergence pattern of seedlings. Experiments in a natural environment were performed to study phenology of seedling emergence and embryo growth. Seasonal changes in the dormancy status of T. japonica seeds were examined by regularly exhuming buried seeds and incubating them in controlled conditions. The action of temperature and light in regulating dormancy, embryo growth and germination was studied in the laboratory. Results showed that seeds of T. japonica have non-deep, simple morphophysiological dormancy (MPD), whereby physiological dormancy is broken by moist chilling (5°C). Once MPD was broken, embryo growth and subsequent germination started in spring, when appropriate temperature and light conditions were present. Seeds buried at a depth where light could not reach them showed cyclic changes in their dormancy status; embryo growth in these seeds could not be initiated because of the lack of a light stimulus. As far as we know, this is the first extensive study of seasonal dormancy cycles in a spring-germinating species of the Apiaceae. T. japonica occurs in a temperate climate with cool winters and warm, moist summers. In this climate, spring is often the most favourable season for seedling establishment.
Germination and dormancy breaking requirements were studied in Selinum carvifolia (L.) L. and Angelica sylvestris L. (Apiaceae). Seeds of these two species have an underdeveloped embryo and are morpho-physiologically dormant. The embryo does not start to grow until physiological dormancy is broken by cold stratification. Incubating seeds at fluctuating temperatures in the light, after cold stratification, had a stimulating effect on embryo growth and seed germination. Seeds of S. carvifolia and A. sylvestris have non-deep simple morphophysiological dormancy (MPD), since gibberellic acid (GA3) could substitute for cold stratification. This is the first report of non-deep simple MPD that is broken by cold stratification in the Apiaceae. Under natural conditions, physiological dormancy is broken by low temperature conditions during winter. Embryo growth and germination occur in a short time interval when temperatures start rising in early spring. Due to the fact that multiple environmental signals regulate dormancy, seedling emergence in these species is timed very accurately in spring.
Germination and survival of water-impermeable seeds of 11 species of Geraniaceae and Malvaceae were monitored during dry storage and during burial in soil for up to 2.5 years. During dry storage, seeds of annual Geraniaceae became permeable and also lost their physiological dormancy. However, during burial in natural conditions, most seeds remained impermeable and viable, with no seasonal change in germination capacity. Germination in only one species (Geranium robertianum) was enhanced by daily alternating temperatures when seeds were exhumed in spring. Drying of exhumed seeds broke physical dormancy. Seeds of the perennial Geranium pratense gradually became permeable in a prolonged germination test of 31 weeks. Most seeds of Malva remained impermeable during dry storage. Buried seeds gradually germinated in situ, and exhumed seeds had a low germination capacity in all seasons. We concluded that dormancy of hard seeds in natural conditions may be broken by drying during summer, by specific temperature regimes or by gradual softening of the seed coat, ensuring the spread of germination over many seasons.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.