Germination of Aesculus hippocastanum seeds following cold-induced dormancy loss can be described in relation to a temperature-dependent reduction in base temperature (Tb) and thermal time

Authors

  • Kathryn J. Steadman,

    1. Seed Conservation Department, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TN, UK;
    2. Western Australian Herbicide Resistance Initiative, School of Plant Biology, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Western Australia, Crawley, WA 6009, Australia
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  • Hugh W. Pritchard

    1. Seed Conservation Department, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, West Sussex RH17 6TN, UK;
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Author for correspondence: Kathryn J. SteadmanTel: +61 86488 2551Fax: +61 86488 7834Email: ksteadman@agric.uwa.edu.au

Summary

  • • The effect of moist stratification at cool temperatures on Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) seed dormancy release and subsequent thermal time requirement for germination has been investigated.
  • • Germination performance following over 50 different treatments, each varying in time and temperature of stratification and germination to a total test time of over 3 yr, was used to develop a predictive model for dormancy release and germination.
  • • Stratification at 2–16°C caused a reduction in base (minimum) temperature for germination (Tb), being fastest at the colder temperatures. Using the sigmoid relationship between rate of reduction in Tb and stratification temperature, seed germination can be predicted in relation to thermal time accumulation above a gradually reducing Tb. Newly shed unstratified seeds, seeds with reduced viability, and seeds on the brink of germination because of Tb being close to stratification temperature, did not conform to the model.
  • • Tb is not constant during dormancy release in horse chestnut seeds. A reduction in Tb in response to cold stratification may be characteristic of summer annuals, suggesting future applications for this approach in seed ecology studies.

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