Field and Laboratory Investigations of Seed Dormancy in Red Maple (Acer Rubrum L.) from the North Carolina Piedmont
Field and laboratory investigations were conducted using seeds collected from red maple populations located in the North Carolina piedmont to determine: (1) the percentage of red maple seedling establishment each spring that can be attributed to dormant seeds, (2) the percentage of seeds that display dormancy upon dispersal, (3) the effect of short periods of dry conditions at 20-22°C on dormancy and seed viability. The greenhouse results indicated that red maple from these populations display moderate levels of seed dormancy (14%) when provided with conditions conducive to germination immediately upon dispersal. However, in the field, the majority of red maple seedlings that established in both 1988 (59%) and 1989 (nearly 100%) emerged from dormant seeds. The dry delay treatment led to significant increases in seed dormancy and decreases in seed viability, which suggest that some seed dormancy in red maple may be acquired rather than innate. Maternal families showed significant variation in levels of seed dormancy, and the effects of the dry delay treatment on seed viability also varied among maternal families. For. Sci. 41(2):378-386.
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