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Underdeveloped embryos in dwarf seeds and implications for assignment to dormancy class

  • Carol C. Baskin (a1) (a2) and Jerry M. Baskin (a1)

Studies were conducted to determine if small embryos (i.e. low embryo length:seed length ratio) in mature dwarf seeds (0.2–2 mm) are underdeveloped. In this case, they would grow (inside the seed) prior to germination, and seeds would have morphological or morphophysiological dormancy. Prior to radicle emergence, embryo length in seeds of Drosera anglica (Droseraceae), Campanula americana, Lobelia appendiculata, L. spicata (Campanulaceae) and Sabatia angularis (Gentianaceae) increased 0, 103, 182, 83 and 57%, respectively. Since embryo growth did not occur in seeds of D. anglica prior to germination, embryos, although small, are fully developed; seeds have only physiological dormancy. The underdeveloped embryo in seeds of C. americana has little or no physiological dormancy; thus, seeds have morphological dormancy. On the other hand, underdeveloped embryos in seeds of L. appendiculata, L. spicata and S. angularis are physiologically dormant, and seeds have morphophysiological dormancy. Therefore, since small embryos in dwarf seeds may or may not be underdeveloped, assignment of seeds to a dormancy class requires that studies be done to determine if embryos grow inside the seed before germination can occur. Such information is important in understanding the evolutionary relationship of the different kinds of seed dormancy.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Angiosperm Phylogeny Group (2003) An update of the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group classification for the orders and families of flowering plants: APG II. Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society 141, 399436.

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

C.C. Baskin , P. Milberg , L. Andersson and J.M. Baskin (2001) Seed dormancy-breaking and germination requirements of Drosera anglica, an insectivorous species of the Northern Hemisphere. Acta Oecologica 22, 18.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1979) The ecological life cycle of the cedar glade endemic Lobelia gattingeri. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 106, 176181.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1984) The ecological life cycle of Campanula americana in northcentral Kentucky. Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club 111, 329337.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (1990) Germination ecophysiology of seeds of the winter annual Chaerophyllum tainturieri: A new type of morphophysiological dormancy. Journal of Ecology 78, 9931004.

J.M. Baskin and C.C. Baskin (2004) A classification system for seed dormancy. Seed Science Research 14, 116.

A.C. Martin (1946) The comparative internal morphology of seeds. The American Midland Naturalist 36, 513660.

M.G. Nikolaeva (2004) On criteria to use in studies of seed evolution. Seed Science Research 14, 315320.

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Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
  • URL: /core/journals/seed-science-research
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