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Factors affecting seed germination of Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet

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Low and erratic seed germination of Heliopsis helianthoides (L.) Sweet have hindered breeding efforts. The objectives of this study were to characterize seed dormancy and to investigate factors (cold stratification, ethylene, gibberellic acid, priming, and red light) as potential germination enhancers. Physiological, but not physical nor morphological seed dormancy was found. Cold stratification (1-6 weeks), imbibing seeds in ethephon (1-5 mM), and red light exposure (1.5 h) all contributed favourably to cumulative germination at 2 weeks, and cold stratification and ethephon also promoted quicker germination. Germination enhancement for any of the factors was variable and depended on seed lot and duration of seed storage prior to experiments. As storage time increased, seed dormancy decreased and seeds germinated more readily with less sensitivity to germination cues. Gibberellic acid (500 mgl−1) treatments were not significantly different than water controls. Priming seeds in water, KNO3 (0.5%), and ethephon (1 mM) for 12 h, drying, and reimbibing in water resulted in reduced germination and increased pathogen attack. Imbibing dormant seeds of H. helianthoides with ethephon (1-5 mM), followed by exposure to red light (1.5 h), and at least one week of cold stratification (4°C) is recommended in order to promote both fast and maximum germination.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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  • Seed Science and Technology (SST) is one of the leading international journals featuring original papers and review articles on seed quality and physiology as related to seed production, harvest, processing, sampling, storage, distribution and testing. This widely recognised journal is designed to meet the needs of researchers, advisers and all those involved in the improvement and technical control of seed quality.
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