346 Effects of Gibberellic Acid and Seed Location on Seed Germination of Echinacea pallida

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  • 1 Center for New Crops and Plant Products, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907-1165

Echinacea pallida, one of the three medicinal Echinacea species native to North America, is generally wildcrafted, and low and uneven seed germination are obstacles to its widespread cultivation. Nonstratified E. pallida seeds were treated with 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 to increase seed germination. Treated seeds were directly germinated at 25 °C and 25/15 °C (14/10h) or stored at 5 and 10 °C for 4, 8, and 12 weeks before germination at the same temperatures. Seed germination across treatments was higher at 25 °C (19%) than at 25/15 °C (14%). Application of 2500, 3500, and 4500 mg/L GA3 significantly increased seed germination rate and total seed germination of nonstratified seeds of E. pallida and resulted in 44%, 50%, and 63% total seed germination, respectively, while untreated control seeds germinated at only 9%. The effect of GA3 as a germination stimulant increased with cold storage, with maximum germination (83%) occurring after seeds were treated with 4500 mg/L GA3 and an 8-week cold storage period at 10 °C. The effect of cold storage periods of 4, 8, and 12 weeks and cold storage temperatures of 5 and 10 °C on seed germination were generally similar. Seeds collected from the upper rows of the seed heads germinated significantly higher (10.6%) than those collected from the lowest seed rows (2.4%).

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