Germination of Leitneria floridana Seeds from Disjunct Populations

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011

Attributes of Leitneria floridana Chapman have been recognized, but this North American shrub remains rare in commerce, and little information on propagation is available. We studied germination of seeds collected from several disjunct populations of L. floridana in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, ≤5% germination occurred when ripe drupes from Missouri and Florida were sown soon after collection. Effects of GA3 (750 mg·L-1 for 24 hours) were assessed on stored drupes leached with water and on seeds excised from stored drupes. Germination percentages were 21 and 32 for leached drupes and excised seeds from Florida, respectively, but ≤5% germination occurred among germplasm from Missouri and among untreated drupes from both provenances. Viability of ungerminated seeds among treatments ranged from 0% to 7%. In 2003, fleshy, apparently unripe drupes from Texas, which were scarified with H2SO4 and then treated with 1000 mg·L-1 GA3 showed 48% germination (germination value = 3.9). Up to 29% germination (germination value = 2.7) occurred when seeds were excised from unripe drupes from Arkansas and Missouri and then were treated for 24 hours with 750 or 1000 mg·L-1 GA3. We conclude that provenance, developmental stage of drupes when collected, storage, and pregermination treatments influence viability and germination of seeds of L. floridana. Barriers to germination may be avoided by collecting drupes when they are green and fleshy.