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Non-deep complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of the Iberian Peninsula endemic geophyte Merendera montana (Colchicaceae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 August 2011

Elena Copete*
ETSIA, Department of Plant Production and Agricultural Technology, University of Castilla-La Mancha, University Campus s/n, Albacete02071, Spain
José M. Herranz
ETSIA, Department of Plant Production and Agricultural Technology, University of Castilla-La Mancha, University Campus s/n, Albacete02071, Spain
Miguel A. Copete
ETSIA, Department of Plant Production and Agricultural Technology, University of Castilla-La Mancha, University Campus s/n, Albacete02071, Spain
Jerry M. Baskin
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY40506, USA
Carol C. Baskin
Department of Biology, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY40506, USA Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY40546, USA
*Correspondence Fax: +34 967 599238 Email:


Heretofore, no detailed account was available on seed dormancy and germination of a member of the Colchicaceae (Liliales). Thus, the primary aim of this study was to do an in-depth investigation of the temperature requirements for dormancy break and germination in seeds of Merendera montana (Colchicaceae) at the embryo and whole-seed levels under near-natural temperatures in a non-heated frame shade-house and under controlled conditions in the laboratory. Mean embryo length in fresh seeds was c. 0.57 mm and embryos had to grow to at least 1.30 mm before radicle emergence. Embryos grew to full size and seeds completed germination (radicles emerged) when they were stratified at 28/14°C for 60 d followed by a cool temperature for 60 d and then incubated at a cool temperature for 30 d. The optimum cool stratification temperature for dormancy-break was 10°C. Thus, after the moist pretreatment at 28/14°C+10°C, radicle emergence was>93% at all incubation temperatures (5, 15/4 and 20/7°C). In its natural habitat, M. montana seeds are dispersed in June, the embryo elongates to full size in autumn and radicles emerge from early November to early February. Although the shoot does not emerge until March and April, it is not physiologically dormant. The shoot emerged from 80% of the radicle-emerged seeds in 13 d at 20/7°C without a previous cold pretreatment. Seeds of M. montana have non-deep complex morphophysiological dormancy, C1b1aB-C1a. This is the first study on seeds with complex MPD to show a delay in shoot emergence following root emergence despite the shoot being physiologically non-dormant.

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Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2011

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Non-deep complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of the Iberian Peninsula endemic geophyte Merendera montana (Colchicaceae)
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