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Germination Ecology of Two Australian Populations of African turnipweed (Sisymbrium thellungii)

  • Gulshan Mahajan (a1), Amar Matloob (a2), Michael Walsh (a3) and Bhagirath S. Chauhan (a4)

African turnipweed (Sisymbrium thellungii O. E.Schulz) is an emerging problematic broadleaf weed of the northern grain region of Australia. Laboratory experiments were conducted to evaluate the effects of temperature, light, salinity, pH, seed burial depth, and the amount of wheat crop residue on germination and emergence of two Australian S. thellungii weed populations (population C, cropped area; population F, fence line). Both populations behaved similarly across different environmental conditions, except in the residue study. Although the seeds of both populations of S. thellungii could germinate under complete darkness, germination was best (~95%) under light/dark conditions at the 20/10 C temperature regime. Both populations of S. thellungii germinated over a wide range of day/night temperatures (15/5, 20/10, 25/15, and 30/20 C). Osmotic stress had negative effects on germination, with 54% seeds (averaged over populations) able to germinate at −0.1MPa. Complete germination inhibition for both populations was observed at −0.8MPa osmotic potential. Both populations germinated at sodium chloride (NaCl) concentrations ranging from 50 to 100 mM, beyond which germination was completely inhibited. There were substantial reductions in seed germination, 32% (averaged over populations) under highly acidic conditions (pH 4.0) as compared with the control (water: pH 6.4). Seed germination of both populations on the soil surface was 77%, and no seedlings emerged from a burial depth of 1 cm. The addition of 6 Mg ha−1 of wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) residue reduced the emergence of the C and F populations of S. thellungii by 75% and 64%, respectively, as compared with the control (no residue). Information gathered from this study provides a better understanding of the factors favorable for germination and emergence of S. thellungii, which will aid in developing management strategies in winter crops, especially wheat, barley (Hordeum vulgare L.), and chick pea (Cicer arietinum L.).

Corresponding author
Author for correspondence: Gulshan Mahajan, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI), University of Queensland, Gatton, QLD 4343, Australia. (Email:
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Weed Science
  • ISSN: 0043-1745
  • EISSN: 1550-2759
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