The germination of 113 commercially available seed lots taken from eight European native species was evaluated and the requirement for dormancy-breaking treatment (250 mg l-1 gibberellic acid, GA3; cold stratification) investigated. Laboratory germination, assessed
as radicle emergence, of seed lots of single species from different suppliers was highly variable, ranging from 0 to 99%. This highlighted the problem of seed quality in the European native seed market. GA3 gave small increases in germination, indicative of little dormancy, in six
species (Centaurea nigra, Cyanus segetum, Knautia arvensis, Prunella vulgaris, Silene vulgaris and Valeriana officinalis) and the effectiveness of dormancy-breaking treatments did not differ between suppliers (i.e. seed origin). In Papaver
rhoeas, GA3 increased germination of some lots indicating intra-specific variation in dormancy. Only a cold stratification treatment significantly enhanced germination in Rhinanthus minor . A tetrazolium (TZ) testing protocol was developed for the eight species which
predicted germination of each species in only two days. Furthermore there was a predictive relationship (R
2 = 0.95) between TZ staining and germination across all species. We therefore propose that TZ staining could be used as a rapid routine method for assessing the germination
of many native species, even when dormancy is present.
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Document Type: Research Article
April 1, 2017
This article was made available online on December 27, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Tetrazolium staining predicts germination of commercial seed lots of European native species differing in seed quality ".
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