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      Seed dormancy in alpine species.

      Flora

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          Abstract

          In alpine species the classification of the various mechanisms underlying seed dormancy has been rather questionable and controversial. Thus, we investigated 28 alpine species to evaluate the prevailing types of dormancy. Embryo type and water impermeability of seed coats gave an indication of the potential seed dormancy class. To ascertain the actual dormancy class and level, we performed germination experiments comparing the behavior of seeds without storage, after cold-dry storage, after cold-wet storage, and scarification. We also tested the light requirement for germination in some species. Germination behavior was characterized using the final germination percentage and the mean germination time. Considering the effects of the pretreatments, a refined classification of the prevailing dormancy types was constructed based on the results of our pretreatments. Only two out of the 28 species that we evaluated had predominantly non-dormant seeds. Physiological dormancy was prevalent in 20 species, with deep physiological dormancy being the most abundant, followed by non-deep and intermediate physiological dormancy. Seeds of four species with underdeveloped embryos were assigned to the morphophysiologial dormancy class. An impermeable seed coat was identified in two species, with no additional physiological germination block. We defined these species as having physical dormancy. Light promoted the germination of seeds without storage in all but one species with physiological dormancy. In species with physical dormancy, light responses were of minor importance. We discuss our new classification in the context of former germination studies and draw implications for the timing of germination in the field.

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          Seed dormancy and the control of germination.

          Seed dormancy is an innate seed property that defines the environmental conditions in which the seed is able to germinate. It is determined by genetics with a substantial environmental influence which is mediated, at least in part, by the plant hormones abscisic acid and gibberellins. Not only is the dormancy status influenced by the seed maturation environment, it is also continuously changing with time following shedding in a manner determined by the ambient environment. As dormancy is present throughout the higher plants in all major climatic regions, adaptation has resulted in divergent responses to the environment. Through this adaptation, germination is timed to avoid unfavourable weather for subsequent plant establishment and reproductive growth. In this review, we present an integrated view of the evolution, molecular genetics, physiology, biochemistry, ecology and modelling of seed dormancy mechanisms and their control of germination. We argue that adaptation has taken place on a theme rather than via fundamentally different paths and identify similarities underlying the extensive diversity in the dormancy response to the environment that controls germination.
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            A classification system for seed dormancy

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              The Comparative Internal Morphology of Seeds

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                10.1016/j.flora.2011.05.001
                3886365
                24415831

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