Skip to main content Accessibility help

Seed Dormancy and Seedling Recruitment in Smooth Barley (Hordeum murinum ssp. glaucum) Populations in Southern Australia

  • Benjamin Fleet (a1) and Gurjeet Gill (a1)


Weedy barley species have emerged as important weeds in southern Australia, where they can be particularly difficult to control in cereal crops. Knowledge of seed dormancy mechanisms, germination ecology, and recruitment behavior in the field would facilitate development of effective weed-control programs for these weed species. Based on somatic chromosome number, smooth barley was identified as the species infesting all the sites sampled in South Australia. Smooth barley populations from cropping fields and noncrop habitats showed large differences in their pattern of dormancy loss. Noncrop populations (EP2, EP3, and MN2) rapidly lost dormancy during dry after-ripening and showed 70 to 95% germination at 3 mo after maturity. Five populations collected from cropping fields (EP1, EP4, EP5, MN1, and MN3), on the other hand, showed < 30% germination, even at 8 mo after maturity, when germination was assessed at 20/12 C day/night temperatures. These dormant, smooth barley populations from cropping fields were found to be highly responsive to cold stratification, with germination increasing in response to the duration of the treatment. Germination of dormant, smooth barley populations increased with the addition of gibberellic acid (0.001 M GA3), but only when lemma and palea had been removed. Recruitment behavior of smooth barley in the field was influenced by the population and the tillage system. A nondormant population, collected from a long-term pasture (MN2), showed high seedling emergence (> 90%) during autumn, which was well before planting of the winter crop (lentil). In contrast, the other three populations sampled from cropping fields showed very little seedling establishment (< 10%) before crop planting, which would make them difficult to control in cereals because there are no selective herbicides available for the control of weedy barley species. There was a significant seeding system by emergence time interaction (P < 0.001), which was reflected in greater in-crop, smooth barley plant densities under zero-till than under conventional tillage and no-till systems.


Corresponding author

Corresponding author's E-mail:


Hide All
Ali, S. M. 1981. Barley grass as a source of pathogenic variation in Rhynchosporium secalis . Aust. J. Agric. Res. 32:2125.
Chauhan, B. S., Gill, G., and Preston, C. 2006a. Factors affecting seed germination of threehorn bedstraw (Galium tricornutum) in Australia. Weed Sci. 54:471477.
Chauhan, B. S., Gill, G., and Preston, C. 2006b. Influence of tillage systems on vertical distribution, seedling recruitment and persistence of rigid ryegrass (Lolium rigidum) seed bank. Weed Sci. 54:669676.
Cocks, P. S. and Donald, C. M. 1973. The germination and establishment of two annual pasture grasses (Hordeum leporinum Link and Lolium rigidum Gaud.). Aust. J. Agric. Res. 24:110.
Cocks, P. S., Boyce, K. G., and Kloot, P. M. 1976. The Hordeum murinum complex in Australia. Aust. J. Bot. 24:651662.
Finkelstein, R., Reeves, W., Ariizumi, T., and Steber, C. 2008. Molecular aspects of seed dormancy. Annu. Rev. Plant Biol. 59:387415.
Kleemann, S. G. L. and Gill, G. S. 2006. Differences in the distribution and seed germination behaviour of populations of Bromus rigidus and Bromus diandrus in South Australia: adaptations to habitat and implications for weed management. Aust. J. Agric. Res. 57:213219.
Kloot, P. M. 1987. Influence of environmental factors on the germination and establishment of barley grass (Hordeum glaucum) and annual ryegrass (Lolium rigidum). Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 27:525532.
MacLeod, W. and MacNish, G. 1989. Control take-all and gain other benefits of eliminating grass from ley pastures by chemical manipulation. J. Agric. West. Aust. 30:132137.
McGowan, A. A. 1976. Comparative germination patterns of annual grasses in north-eastern Victoria. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. Anim. Husb. 10:401404.
Naylor, J. M. and Jana, S. 1976. Genetic adaptation for seed dormancy in Avena fatua . Can. J. Bot. 54:306312.
Payne, R. W., Murray, D. A., Harding, S. A., Baird, D. B., and Soutar, D. M. 2007. GenStat for Windows 10th ed. Reference Manual. Hemel Hempstead, U.K. VSN International.
Poole, M. L., Holmes, J. E., and Gill, G. S. 1986. Competition between wheat and barley grass. Pp. 7576 in the Proceedings of Annual Grass Weeds in Winter Crops Workshop. Adelaide, Australia.
Popay, A. I. 1981. Germination of seeds of five annual species of barley grass. J. Appl. Ecol. 18:547558.
Stephenson, D. W. 1993. Barley grass control with herbicides in subterranean clover pasture, 2: effect on pasture and wheat in the year following spraying. Aust. J. Exp. Agric. 33:743749.
Yamauchi, Y., Ogawa, M., Kuwahara, A., Hanada, A., Kamiya, Y., and Yamaguchi, S. 2004. Activation of gibberellin biosynthesis and response pathways by low temperature during imbibitions of Arabidopsis thaliana seeds. Plant Cell. 16:367378.



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed