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J Integr Plant Biol, 2005, 47 (1): 38-49, Research Article
Dormancy Breaking and Storage Behavior of Garcinia cowa Roxb. (Guttiferae) Seeds: Implications for Ecological Function and Germplasm Conservation
Yong LIU, Yu-Ping QIU, Ling ZHANG and Jin CHEN
doi: 10.1111/j.1744-7909.2005.00010.x
Abstract
The dormancy breaking and storage behavior of Garcinia cowa Roxb. seeds were investigated. The seeds of G. cowa had 8–11 months dormancy in their natural habitat. Seeds were matured and dispersed at the end of the rainy season (mid-late August to late September) and were scatter-hoarded by rodents as food for winter after the seeds had fallen to the ground. Seedlings often emerged in the forest during the rainy season (May to August) the following year. Intact seeds of G. cowa failed to germinate after being sown at 30 °C for 120 d and the mean germination time (MGT) of seeds cultured in a shade (50% sunlight) nursery was 252 d. The most effective method of breaking dormancy was to remove the seed coat totally, which reduced the MGT to 13 d at 30 °C. Germination was also promoted by partial removal of the seed coat (excising the hilum and exposing the radicle) and chemical scarification (immersion in 1% H2O2 for 1 d). Unscarified seeds take up water rapidly in the first 96 h, but water was absorbed by the outside seed coat, without penetrating through it. The moisture content (MC) of G. cowa seeds was high (50% in fresh weight) at shedding. The seeds could tolerate desiccation to some extent, until the MC reached approximately 40%; below that, the viability decreases rapidly and all seeds died at approximately 17% of MC. Seed viability decreased rapidly when seeds were chilled at 4 °C; germination was 2% after storage for 1 week. Even stored at 10 °C, seeds began to be damaged after 4 weeks. Seed storage for 1 yr revealed that in both dry (relative humidity (35 ± 5)%) and moist (wet sand) storage conditions, seed viability declined, but germination percentages for seeds stored under moist conditions are better than for seed stored under dry conditions. Because of their low tolerance to desiccation, marked chilling sensitivity and relatively short lifespan, G. cowa seeds should be classified into the tropical recalcitrant category. The ecological implications of dormant recalcitrant seeds and cues on storing recalcitrant seeds were discussed.
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