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Target seed moisture content, chilling and priming pretreatments influence germination temperature response in Alnus glutinosa and Betula pubescens

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The response of common alder [Alnus glutinosa (L.) Gaertn.] and downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) seeds to germination temperature was examined following chilling and priming. Seeds of two seed lots of each species were subjected to combinations of chilling (4±1°C) and priming (20°C) treatments in fully imbibed (FI) state or a lower target seed moisture content (TMC) level (30% and 35% in alder and birch, respectively). After treatment, the seeds were allowed to germinate for 56 days at constant temperatures of 7.5, 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30°C. The response to temperature and pretreatment differed between species, but the effect was consistent in each seed lot within each species. In alder, the TMC seeds germinated well across the full range of temperatures, whereas there was an optimum temperature (22-23°C) for seeds given the FI pretreatment. Priming had no significant effect on the germination response of the TMC seeds in alder, but priming greatly improved germination in the FI seeds, especially at the lower germination temperatures (optimum 18-19°C). In contrast, in birch, the TMC seeds germinated better across the full temperature range, but the optimal germination temperature (15°C) was the same for all seed pretreatments. Priming improved germination in both the FI and TMC seeds in birch.

Keywords: Alder; birch; seed lot

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: UCD School of Biology and Environmental Science, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland 2: UCD School of Mathematical Sciences, University College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland

Publication date: 2007-01-01

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