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A new seed coat water-impermeability mechanism in Chaetostoma armatum (Melastomataceae): evolutionary and biogeographical implications of physiophysical dormancy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 March 2015

Rafaella C. Ribeiro
Affiliation:
Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, CP 486, 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Denise M.T. Oliveira*
Affiliation:
Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, CP 486, 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
Fernando A.O. Silveira
Affiliation:
Departamento de Botânica, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, CP 486, 31270-901, Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais, Brazil
*
*Correspondence E-mail: dmtoliveira@icb.ufmg.br

Abstract

Determining the phylogenetic and biogeographic distribution of physical dormancy remains a major challenge in germination ecology. Here, our goal was to describe a novel water-impermeable seed coat mechanism causing physical dormancy (PY) in the seeds of Chaetostoma armatum (Melastomataceae). Although seed coat permeability tests indicated a significant increase in seed weight after soaking in distilled water, anatomical and dye-tracking analyses showed that both water and dyes penetrated the seed coat but not the embryo, which remained in a dry state. The water and dye penetrated the lumen of the exotestal cells, which have a thin outer periclinal face and thickened secondary walls with U-shaped phenolic compounds. Because of this structure, water and dye do not penetrate the inner periclinal face of the exotestal cells, indicating PY. Puncturing the seeds increased germination more than tenfold compared to that of the control, but GA3 did not increase germination further. A significant fraction of the seeds did not germinate after puncturing, indicating that embryos are also physiologically dormant (PD). This paper constitutes the first report of the water-impermeable seed coat in the Myrtales and the first report of physiophysical (PD+PY) dormancy in a shrub from a tropical montane area.

Type
Research Papers
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2015 

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A new seed coat water-impermeability mechanism in Chaetostoma armatum (Melastomataceae): evolutionary and biogeographical implications of physiophysical dormancy
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