Effects of light, temperature and nitrogen on Scilla hyacinthoides germination and seedling development
Scilla hyacinthoides (Asparagaceae, subfamily Scilloideae) is a perennial deciduous bulbous geophyte, growing naturally in the Mediterranean region. During recent years in Israel there have been attempts to grow S. hyacinthoides horticulturally as a cut flower or a water-saving garden ornamental. Hence, information on germination and seedling development is timely and much needed for future plant selection. The specific objectives of the present study were to describe germination and seedling development, to define the temperature requirements for germination and growth, and to determine the factors involved in developmental seedling plasticity. S. hyacinthoides seeds exhibit physiological dormancy. Germination was inhibited by light and by high temperatures. The germination is epigeal. High temperatures induced end-of-season seedling dormancy and lead to increased seedling mortality. The cotyledon serves as a photosynthetic leaf, while the leaves lack blades and function as scales. Application of nitrogen compounds changed the axial patterning of leaves by inducing leaf blade formation and increased seedling dry weight. In conclusion, S. hyacinthoides germination and seedling development are highly plastic and are influenced by light, temperature and nitrogen availability. Such plasticity is of great benefit in the unpredictable Mediterranean climate.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: August 1, 2014
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