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Kimberly A. Pickens, James M. Affolter, Hazel Y. Wetzstein, and Jan H.D. Wolf

Tillandsia eizii is an epiphytic bromeliad that due to over-collection, habitat destruction, and physiological constraints has declined to near threatened status. This species exhibits high mortality in the wild, and seed are characterized by low percentages of germination. As a means to conserve this species, in vitro culture protocols were developed to enhance seed germination and seedling growth. A sterilization protocol using 70% ethanol for 2 minutes followed by 2.6% NaOCl for 40 minutes disinfested seed and promoted seedling growth. Sucrose incorporated into the culture medium had no effect on germination or growth, while NAA inhibited growth, but not germination. Cultures maintained under a 16-hour photoperiod at 22 °C exhibited greater growth than those grown at 30 °C. Seed that germinated in the dark remained etiolated and failed to develop even after transfer to light conditions. Plants grown in vitro were successfully acclimatized and transferred to the greenhouse. Over 86% survival and rapid growth were obtained with either an all-pine-bark medium, or a mixture of 2 redwood bark: 2 fir bark: 2 potting mix: 1 perlite. This demonstrated that in vitro culture of seed may be used to rapidly produce large numbers of T. eizii, and thus can be used for the conservation and reintroduction of this species.

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K.K. Tanino, D.R. Waterer, S.R. Abrams, and L.V. Gusta

Seeds of celery, spinach, onion, cress, water cress, iceberg lettuce, Great Lakes lettuce, cabbage, tomato, sweet corn and celery were pre-treated with 0.1 μM/g seed of both ABA and analogs of ABA. The chemicals were dissolved in a mixture of methanol:hexane (9:1/v:v) and applied to the seeds for approximately 3 minutes. The solvent was removed from the seeds within 5 minutes by rotary evaporation under reduced pressure. Effects on petri plate germination and soil emergence were monitored daily at 5, 10 and 15°C. The methanol/hexane solvent alone improved spinach seed emergence at 10°C from 10% to 100% and from 50% to 90% at 15°C in celery. Certain ABA analogs reduced time to 50% emergence in celery by at least 7 days at 15°C. Two ABA analogs synchronized emergence in celery and effect was temperature-dependent. One analog improved seed germination in tomato from 15% to 90% at 10°C. In most cases treatment effects on radicle germination on petri plates was not a good indicator of treatment effects on emergence from a soil based system.

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C.L.H. Finneseth, Desmond R. Layne, and R.L. Geneve

Little scientific information is available describing morphological development of pawpaw during seed germination. To provide this information, a study was designed to outline important developmental stages and describe seedling characteristics within each stage. Stratified pawpaw seeds were sown in vermiculite and germinated at 25°C in a growth chamber. Ten seedlings were randomly chosen and destructively harvested at 5-day intervals starting at radicle protrusion. Length (mm), fresh and dry weight, and percentage of total dry weight were determined for seedling components. Pawpaw seeds have a small rudimentary embryo with all food reserves stored in a ruminate endosperm. Dry weight measurements showed a dramatic reallocation of reserves from the storage tissue to developing seedling parts. Initial embryo length was less than 3 mm, but within 70 days seedlings exceeded 350 mm. Twelve days after planting, simultaneous radicle and cotyledon growth occurred (3.4 and 3.0 mm, respectively), but neither hypocotyl nor epicotyl was visible. Radicle protrusion was observed at 15 days with radicle, cotyledon and hypocotyl lengths increasing to 4.4, 4.0, and 3.2 mm, respectively. Endosperm comprised 99.1% of total dry weight at this stage. The hypocotyl hook emerged after 30 days and endosperm comprised 76.1% of total dry weight. Cotyledons reached maximum length (29.0 mm) at day 40 and the epicotyl was discernible. At 55 days, the seed coat containing cotyledons and residual endosperm abscised and the average radicle, hypocotyl and epicotyl lengths were 182.0, 61.1, and 7.3 mm, respectively. It is suggested that the cotyledons primary function is absorption of food reserves from the endosperm for transfer to the developing seedling.

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James A. Schrader and William R. Graves

Genotypic variation and horticultural potential of Alnus maritima [Marsh.] Nutt. (seaside alder), a large shrub or small tree found naturally in only three small, disjunct populations, have not been studied. We examined effects of population of origin and environment on seed germination and growth and morphology of seedlings. The first experiment showed that 6 weeks of cold stratification optimized germination of half-sibling seeds from Oklahoma at 73.2%. When this treatment was applied to multiple groups of half-siblings from all populations in a second experiment, seeds from Oklahoma had a higher germination percentage (55.0%) than seeds from Georgia (31.4%) and the Delmarva Peninsula (14.7%). In a third experiment, morphology and growth of multiple groups of half-siblings from all three populations were compared in one environment. Leaves of seedlings from Oklahoma were longer (12.8 cm) and more narrow (2.15 length to width ratio) than leaves of seedlings from Georgia (12.0 cm long; ratio = 1.76) and the Delmarva Peninsula (11.6 cm long; ratio = 1.86). Seedlings from Oklahoma and Georgia accumulated dry weight at higher rates (181 and 160 mg·d-1, respectively) than seedlings from Delmarva (130 mg·d-1), while seedlings from Oklahoma and Delmarva were more densely foliated (0.72 and 0.64 leaves and lateral shoots per centimeter of primary stem, respectively) than those from Georgia (0.46 per cm). These differences indicate genetic divergence among the three disjunct populations and the potential to exploit genetic variation to select horticulturally superior A. maritima for use in managed landscapes.

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Yu Sung, Daniel J. Cantliffe, and Russell Nagata

Temperature is an important environmental factor that affects lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) germination. The present research was conducted to determine the role of seed coverings on lettuce seed germination at high temperature. Five lettuce genotypes were primed in order to bypass thermoinhibitional effects on germination. During germination of primed and nonprimed seeds, imbibition followed a normal triphasic pattern. Primed seeds had higher final water content, a decreased imbibitional phase II, and germinated at 36 °C compared to nonprimed seeds of thermosensitive genotypes, which did not germinate at 36 °C. Puncture tests were conducted to determine the force required to penetrate the whole seed or endosperm of the five genotypes at 24 and 33 °C. `Dark Green Boston', a thermosensitive genotype, had the highest mean resistance (0.207 N) and PI 251245, a thermotolerant genotype, had the lowest (0.139 N). Resistance to penetration of the endopserm of the five genotypes was different at both temperatures. However, three thermotolerant genotypes had lower endosperm resistance than two thermosensitive types. At 36 °C, the penetration force for primed and nonprimed seeds was compared after the first hour of imbibition and 1 hour before radicle protrusion. The force required to penetrate the seed was affected by genotype, seed priming, and duration of imbibition. Puncture force decreased as imbibition time at 36 °C increased in primed and nonprimed seed of each thermotolerant genotype but not in the thermosensitive genotypes. Priming reduced the initial force necessary to penetrate the seed and endosperm in all genotypes. Thus, for radicle protrusion to occur, there must first be a decrease in the resistance of the endosperm layer as evidenced by priming or thermotolerant genotype. Then, the pericarp and integument are sufficiently weakened so that tissue resistance is lower than the turgor pressure of the expanding embryo, allowing germination to be completed.

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Rufaro Madakadze, Ellen M. Chirco, and Anwar A. Khan

The effect of preplant conditioning on germination of three flower seeds, Bupleurum griffithii (Tourn.) L. (thorough-wax), Ammi majus L. (greater ammi), and Cirsium japonicum DC. Per. (Japanese thistle), were studied. Seeds were osmoconditioned with -1.2 MPa polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG) solution and matriconditioned with moist Micro-Cel E (ratio of 2 seed: 0.6 carrier: 3 water by weight for Bupleurum and Cirsium; for Ammi the ratio was 2:1.4:6) and moist expanded vermiculite #5 (the ratio was of 2 seed: 0.6 carrier: 2 water for Bupleurum). In some treatments, water in the matriconditioning mixture was replaced with 1 mm gibberellin A4+7 (GA) or 0.2 % KNO3. In Bupleurum, matriconditioning with Micro-Cel E was generally superior to matriconditioning with vermiculite or osmoconditioning with PEG. A 4-day matriconditioning with Micro-Cel E and germination in the dark reduced the period required for 50% (T50 of final germination by 4 days and improved the percentage germination at 20C (73 % vs. 95%), compared to nonconditioned seeds germinated in the dark. The treatment also improved the percentage of germination at 15C (68% vs. 95%) and effectively removed the thermoinhibition of germination at 25 and 30C. Germination was inhibited to a greater extent for seeds kept in the light during matriconditioning and germination than for seeds conditioned in darkness and germinated in light or conditioned in light and germinated in darkness. Nitrate added during conditioning in light prevented inhibition of germination, provided seeds were kept in darkness during germination. In A. majus, germination in light after 4-day matriconditioning reduced the T50 by ≈2 days, but had little effect on percentage germination. Both GA and irradiance equally promoted germination when added during osmoconditioning, with nitrate having no effect. In C. japonicum, a 4-day matriconditioning or a 7-day osmoconditioning reduced the T50 of germination by -2 days and improved the percentage germination to some extent. Neither irradiance nor nitrate had any significant effect.

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T.A. Bacon and D.H. Byrne

A study was conducted on various peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch.] cultivars to determine the relationships among seed germination, seedling survival, seedling rosetting, fruit development period (FDP), and percent dry weight of the ovule (PDO). Germination and survival increased rapidly between 80 and 100 days of FDP, corresponding to an increase in mean PDO from 16% to 50%. Germination and survival leveled off after 105 days of FDP at >85%, corresponding to a mean PDO of 64%. Rosetting was high among seedlings for cultivars with FDP <110 days, but dropped rapidly as FDP increased. PDO was found to be a better indicator of seed germinability and seedling survival than FDP.

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Adam Bolton and Philipp Simon

( Bernstein and Ayers, 1953 ; Maas and Hoffman, 1977 ). To date, there have been few evaluations of the salinity tolerance of carrot during the seed germination stage ( Kahouli et al., 2014 ; Rode et al., 2012 ; Schmidhalter and Oertli, 1991 ). These

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Yan-Ling Zheng and Huan-Cheng Ma

( Zheng et al., 2013 ) and sticky snakeroot [ Eupatorium adenophorum (unpublished data)] could inhibit seed germination of mumian. However, seedling regeneration is still impaired around the mature trees even though no sticky snakeroot exists at some

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Thomas H. Boyle

Binomial probability distributions were used to determine the effects of percent seed germination and number of seeds sown per cell on expected numbers of seedlings in plug trays. Expected numbers of empty cells in five types of plug trays (128, 273, 338, 406, and 512 cells/tray) were calculated for cases where one to seven seeds were sown per cell and seed germination ranged from 50% to 95%. Generally, one additional seed was required per plug cell for each 10% decrease in the germination percentage in order to attain the same number of filled cells per plug tray. Expected frequencies were calculated for the number of seedlings in plug trays when one to five seeds were sown per cell and seed germination ranged from 50% to 95%. When the number of seeds sown per cell remained constant, uniformity in seedling number per cell increased as the germination percentage increased. When percent seed germination remained constant and the number of seeds sown per cell was increased, the percentage of cells with at least one seedling increased, whereas the uniformity in seedling number per cell decreased. Additional examples are presented in the article on the utility of binomial distributions in determining expected number of seedlings.