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Effects of Length of Storage, and Stratification on Germination of Whitebark Pine Seeds

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The effects of length of storage and stratification on germination of whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis Engelm.) seeds were determined for 180 open-pollinated families from throughout most of the species range. Seeds came from four geographic regions and were stored from 0 to 10 years at one of four storage facilities. Seeds received a standard 1 month of warm moist treatment and 2 months of cold stratification treatment and germination regime, and germination capacity was determined for 100 viable seeds per family. A subset of families received an additional 6 months of cold stratification. Mean germination was 13.4% after 2 months of cold stratification and 76.6% after an additional 6 months of cold stratification, with a wide range among seedlots for both assessments. The length of storage did not affect germination significantly in the first test, but it was associated with a decline in the second test. Germination capacity of up to 80% was achieved with seeds that had been in storage for 10 years. High viability of stored seeds indicate that ex situ seed storage should provide a viable means of conserving genetic resources; however, we recommend that standard protocols for germination of whitebark pine seeds be modified by extending the cold stratification period.
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Keywords: Pinus albicaulis Engelm; ex situ gene conservation; germination; seed; stratification; whitebark pine

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2011

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