Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Physical dormancy in seeds of Dodonaea viscosa (Sapindales, Sapindaceae) from Hawaii

  • Jerry M. Baskin (a1), Barbara H. Davis (a1), Carol C. Baskin (a1) (a2), Sean M. Gleason (a3) and Susan Cordell (a4)...

Dormancy in seeds of Dodonaea viscosa is due to a water-impermeable seed coat (physical dormancy, PY). Thus, mechanically scarified seeds imbibed water (c. 95% increase in mass) and germinated to high percentages over a wide range of temperature regimes in both white light and darkness, whereas non-scarified seeds did not take up water. Dry heat at 80–160°C and dipping in boiling water for 1–60 s also broke dormancy in a high percentage of the seeds, and continuous far-red light was not inhibitory to germination. However, dry storage in the laboratory for >1 year did not overcome dormancy. Seeds made water-permeable by boiling imbibed water, and thus germinated, at a much slower rate than those made water-permeable by mechanical scarification. We suggest that boiling opened the ‘water gap’ in the seed coat (not yet described in Sapindaceae but present in other taxa with PY) and that water entered the seed only through this small opening, thereby accounting for the slow rate of imbibition and subsequent germination. Physical dormancy has now been shown to occur in seeds of this polymorphic, worldwide species from Australia, Brazil, Hawaii, Mexico and New Zealand. The low level of dormancy reported for seed lots of D. viscosa in China, India and Pakistan is probably due to collection of seeds before they dried to the critical moisture content for development of water-impermeability of the seed coat. Germination of non-dormant seeds over a wide range of temperatures and in white light, far-red (leaf-canopy shade) light and darkness are part of the germination strategy of D. viscosa and of other taxa whose seeds have PY at maturity.

Corresponding author
*Correspondence Fax: +1 859 257 1717 Email:
Hide All
C.L. Ballaré (1994) Light gaps: Sensing the light opportunities in highly dynamic canopy environments. pp. 73110. in M.M.; Caldwell R.W.; Pearcy (Eds) Exploration of environmental heterogeneity by plants San Diego, Academic Press.

C.C. Baskin and J.M. Baskin (1998) Seeds: Ecology, biogeography, and evolution of seed dormancy and germination. San Diego, Academic Press.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1974) Some eco-physiological aspects of seed dormancy in Geranium carolinianum L. from central Tennessee. Oecologia 16, 209216.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (2000) Evolutionary considerations of claims for physical dormancy-break by microbial action and abrasion by soil particles. Seed Science Research 10, 409413.

J.M. Baskin , X. Nan and C.C. Baskin (1998a) A comparative study of seed dormancy and germination in an annual and a perennial species of Senna (Fabaceae). Seed Science Research 8, 501512.

J.M. Baskin , C.C. Baskin and X. Li (2000) Taxonomy, anatomy and evolution of physical dormancy in seeds. Plant Species Biology 15, 139152.

C.J. Burrows (1995) Germination behavior of the seeds of six New Zealand woody plant species. New Zealand Journal of Botany 33, 365377.

J.J. Casal and R.A. Sánchez (1998) Phytochromes and seed germination. Seed Science Research 8, 317329.

J. Degreef , O.J. Rocha , T. Vanderborght and J.-P. Baudoin (2002) Soil seed bank and seed dormancy in wild populations of lima bean (Fabaceae): Considerations for in situ and ex situ conservation. American Journal of Botany 89, 16441650.

B. Dell (1980) Structure and function of the strophiolar plug in seeds of Albizia lophantha. American Journal of Botany 67, 556563.

S.H. Duke and G. Kakefuda (1981) Role of the testa in preventing cellular rupture during imbibition of legume seeds. Plant Physiology 67, 449456.

G.H. Egley and R.N. Paul (1981) Morphological observations on the early imbibition of water by Sida spinosa (Malvaceae) seeds. American Journal of Botany 68, 10561065.

A.G. Floyd (1966) Effect of fire upon weed seeds in the wet sclerophyll forests of northern New South Wales. Australian Journal of Botany 14, 243256.

D.H. Hamly (1932) Softening of the seeds of Melilotus alba. Botanical Gazette 93, 345375.

P.J. Hanna (1984) Anatomical features of the seed coat of Acacia kempeana (Mueller) which relate to increased germination rate induced by heat treatment. New Phytologist 96, 2329.

J.M. Herranz , P. Ferrandis and J.J. Martínez-Sánchez (1998) Influence of heat on seed germination of seven Mediterranean Leguminosae species. Plant Ecology 136, 95103.

K.C. Hodgkinson (1979) The shrubs of poplar box ( Eucalyptus populnea ) lands and their biology. Australian Rangeland Journal 1, 280293.

K.C. Hodgkinson (1991) Shrub recruitment response to intensity and season of fire in a semi-arid woodland. Journal of Applied Ecology 28, 6070.

K.C. Hodgkinson and R.E. Oxley (1990) Influence of fire and edaphic factors on germination of the arid zone shrubs Acacia aneura, Cassia nemophila and Dodonaea viscosa. Australian Journal of Botany 38, 269279.

X. Li , J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1999a) Physiological dormancy and germination requirements of seeds of several North American Rhus species (Anacardiaceae). Seed Science Research 9, 237245.

X. Li , J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1999b) Anatomy of two mechanisms of breaking physical dormancy by experimental treatments in seeds of two North American Rhus species (Anacardiaceae). American Journal of Botany 86, 15051511.

J. Liu and S. Noshiro (2003) Lack of latitudinal trends in wood anatomy of Dodonaea viscosa (Sapindaceae), a species with a worldwide distribution. American Journal of Botany 90, 532539.

W.M. Lush and L.T. Evans (1980) The seed coats of cowpeas and other grain legumes: Structure in relation to function. Field Crops Research 3, 267286.

J.C. Manning and J. Van Staden (1987b) The functional differentiation of the testa in seed of Indigofera parviflora. Botanical Gazette 148, 2334.

A. Meisert (2002) Physical dormancy in Geraniaceae seeds. Seed Science Research 12, 121128.

O.I. Nandi (1998) Ovule and seed anatomy of Cistaceae and related Malvanae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 209, 239264.

S. Rehman and I.-H. Park (2000) Effect of scarification, GA and chilling on the germination of goldenrain-tree ( Koelreuteria paniculata Laxm.) seeds. Scientia Horticulturae 85, 319324.

S.G.T. Rosa and A.G. Ferreira (2001) Germinação de sementes de plantas medicinais lenhosas. Acta Botanica Brasilica 15, 147154.

G. de Serrato-Valenti , M. Vries and L. Cornara (1995) The hilar region in Leucaena leucocephala Lam. (DeWit) seed: structure, histochemistry and the role of the lens in germination. Annals of Botany 75, 569574.

S.S. Sharma and D.N. Sen (1975) Effect of light on seed germination and seedling growth of Merremia species. Folia Geobotanica et Phytotaxonomica 10, 265269.

C. Sterling (1954) Development of the seed coat of lima bean ( Phaseolus lunatus L.). Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 81, 271287.

M. Takaki (2001) New proposal of classification of seeds based on forms of phytochrome instead of photoblastism. Revista Brasileira de Fisiologia Vegetal 13, 104108.

C.A. Thanos and K. Georghiou (1988) Ecophysiology of fire-stimulated seed germination in Cistus incanus ssp. creticus (L.) Heywood and C. salvifolius L. Plant, Cell and Environment 11, 841849.

C. Vázquez-Yanes and A. Orozco-Segovia (1982) Seed germination of a tropical rainforest pioneer tree ( Heliocarpus donnell-smithii ) in response to diurnal fluctuation of temperature. Physiologia Plantarum 56, 295298.

C. Vázquez-Yanes and A. Orozco-Segovia (1994) Signals for seeds to sense and respond to gaps. pp. 209236. in M.M.; Caldwell R.W. Pearcy (Eds) Exploitation of environmental heterogeneity by plants. San Diego, Academic Press.

R.S. Vora (1989) Seed germination characteristics of selected native plants of the lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas. Journal of Range Management 42, 3640.

J.G. West (1984) A revision of Dodonaea Miller (Sapindaceae) in Australia. Brunonia 7, 1194.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
  • URL: /core/journals/seed-science-research
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 47 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 338 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 17th October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.