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S.M. Hum-Musser, T.E. Morelock, J.B. Murphy, and R.L. Henry

Seed germination of spinach (Spinacia oleracea L.) is partially inhibited by a high germination temperature (35 °C). Tolerance of high germination temperatures varies widely depending on the variety used. We ascertained that seed germination of these spinach varieties was thermoinhibited at 35 °C and secondary dormancy was not induced as seeds germinated when transferred to optimum germination conditions (20 °C). Treatment with 99% oxygen and 10 ppm kinetin significantly increased germination of thermoinhibited varieties at 35 °C. During heat stress, all organisms produce heat shock proteins (HSPs), which may function as molecular chaperons, are possibly required for the development of thermotolerance, and may be crucial for cell survival during heat stress. Western blotting of SDS-PAGE gels using antibodies to various heat shock proteins indicated that spinach varieties with the highest degree of thermotolerance have higher levels of HSP expression than varieties with the lowest degree of thermotolerance during germination. These results suggest that thermotolerance could be further improved, either through a breeding program or possibly by genetic engineering.

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Bing-Rui Ni and Kent J. Bradford

Cell growth models were applied to characterize the response of seed germination, based upon the timing of radicle emergence, to y and ABA. Using probit analysis, three basic parameters can be derived to describe the population characteristics of seed lots. In the response of seed germination to osmotic stress, these three parameters are the “hydrotime constant” (q H), the mean base water potential (y b), and the standard deviation (s b) population. In the response to ABA, they are the “ABA-time constant” (q ABA), the mean base ABA concentration (ABAb), and the standard deviation (s ABAb) of the seed population. Using only these three parameters, germination time courses can be predicted at any corresponding medium y or ABA concentration. In the presence of both ABA and osmotic stress, the same parameters can be used to predict seed germination time courses with any combination of y and ABA concentration. The water relations model and the ABA model were additive and it appeared that the two factors slowed down germination independently. Effects of osmotic stress and ABA on the parameters in Lockhart equation are also discussed.

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Song-jun Zeng, Zhi-lin Chen, Kun-lin Wu, Jian-xia Zhang, Cheng-ke Bai, Jaime A. Teixeira da Silva, and Jun Duan

. Asymbiotic seed germination and in vitro seedling development of Nothodoritis zhejiangensis . ( A ) Flowering specimen of N. zhejiangens growing on the tree branches of Cornus officinalis . ( B ) Seed germination and protocorm development in vitro. ( C

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Yoshiko Yambe, Kiyotoshi Takeno, and Takashi Saito

Seed germination percentage of multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora Thunh.) was much higher under continuous white light than in complete darkness. Red light was the most effective in inducing germination, and far-red light was ineffective. Exposure to red light for 1 min increased germination; this effect was saturated at an exposure of2 min. The red-light effect was reversed by subsequent exposure to far-red light. The results indicate that rose seeds are positively photoblastic, and that the photoreceptor involved is most likely phytochrome.

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S. Grange, D.I. Leskovar, L. Pike, and G. Cobb

Triploid watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] consumption is increasing in the United States However, some of the original problems, poor and inconsistent germination, still exist. Seeds of several triploid and diploid watermelon cultivars were subjected to a variety of treatments to improve germination. Control and scarified seeds, by nicking, were incubated at 25 or 30 °C in either 5 or 10 mL H2O or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Triploid seed germination was strongly inhibited in all cultivars when seeds were at 10 mL of H2O or H2O2; both nicking and H2O2 increased germination but not equal to rate of the control in 5 mL H2O or H2O2. Germination of diploid cultivars was unaffected by any treatment. Seed morphological measurments indicated that triploid seed has a smaller embryo with a large and highly variable (cv = 105%) air space surrounding the embryonic axis as compared with the diploid seed. These data suggests that triploid watermelon seed germination is not inhibited by the seed coat thickness alone. Seed moisture plays a significant role in germination, emergence, and stand uniformity.

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Robin A. DeMeo and Thomas E. Marler

Two studies were conducted to determine the influence of pH on papaya seed germination and seedling emergence. The germination test was conducted with `Waimanalo' and `Tainung 1' seeds, using a double layer of filter paper disks in plastic petri dishes placed within a growth chamber. Each dish received 40 seeds, and germination was defined as when the radicle was visible. Disks were wetted daily with nutrient solution adjusted to pH of 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, or 9. Germination began on day 5, and the study was terminated on day 23. Solution pH did not influence germination rate or ultimate germination percentage. `Waimanalo' exhibited 58% germination and `Tainung 1' exhibited 64% germination in this test. The seedling emergence study was conducted with `Waimanalo' seeds using sand culture within a growth chamber. Thirty seeds were planted in 10-cm containers, and the sand was irrigated daily with the solutions from the first study. Emergence was defined as when the hypocotyl hook was visible above the sand. Emergence began on day 10, and the study was terminated on day 30. Solution pH did not influence seedling emergence, and mean emergence was 69% in this study. The results indicate that the seed germination and seedling emergence stages of papaya seedling growth are adapted to a wide range of substrate pH.

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S. Grange, D.I. Leskovar, L. Pike, and G. Cobb

Triploid watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum & Nakai] consumption is increasing in the U.S. However, some of the original problems, poor and inconsistent germination, still exist. Seeds of several triploid and diploid watermelon cultivars were subjected to a variety of treatments to improve germination. Control and scarified seeds, by nicking, were incubated at 25 or 30 °C in either 5 or 10 mL H2O or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2). Triploid seed germination was strongly inhibited in all cultivars when seeds were at 10 mL of the H2O or H2O2; both nicking and H2O2 increased germination, but not equal to rate of the control in 5 mL H2O or H2O2. Germination of diploid cultivars was unaffected by any treatment. Seed morphological measurments indicated that triploid seed has a smaller embryo with a large and highly variable (CV = 105%) air space surrounding the embryonic axis as compared with the diploid seed. These data suggests that triploid watermelon seed germination is not inhibited by the seedcoat thickness alone. Seed moisture plays a significant role in germination, emergence, and stand uniformity.

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James A. Schrader and William R. Graves

The genus Dirca L. (Thymelaeaceae) consists of three species of understory shrubs. Dirca palustris L. is sparsely distributed across eastern North America, D. occidentalis Gray is endemic near the San Francisco Bay, and D. mexicana Nesom & Mayfield is known only in one population in northeastern Mexico. Despite interest in the horticultural use of Dirca, plants seldom are marketed. Difficult propagation impedes production of Dirca. We sought to define protocols that promote uniform seed germination of all three Dirca spp. Endodormancy and paradormancy cause sporadic germination over several years under natural conditions, but endocarp removal, cold stratification, and treatment with GA3 increased germination percentage, speed, and uniformity. Dirca occidentalis was most responsive; up to 94% of seeds germinated after endocarp removal, 24 hours in GA3 at 50 mg·L–1, and stratification at 4 °C for 30 days. Treatments also were effective for D. palustris (up to 68% germination), but seeds of D. mexicana were unresponsive and germinated at 25% or less. Seed treatments should facilitate production of D. occidentalis and D. palustris, but further research is needed to define methods to propagate D. mexicana for horticultural use and for conserving this rare species in the wild.

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Wayne A. Mackay and Tim D. Davis

Seeds of four lupine species (L. microcarpus var. aureus, L. havardii, L. succulentis, and L. texensis) were subjected to 0, –2, –4, –6, or –8 bars osmotic potential using PEG 8000 solutions. Seeds of all species were acid scarified prior to placement in petri dishes containing the osmotic solutions. Petri dishes were placed in a seed germination chamber at 25°C with germination data collected daily for 15 days. Seeds of L. havardii, a desert species native to west Texas exhibited the greatest germination as osmotic potential declined while L. succulentis, a species adapted to moist sites, exhibited the greatest decline in germination as osmotic potential decreased. The other species exhibited intermediate germinability under the lower osmotic potentials.

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Phil S. Allen, Donald B. White, Karl Russer, and Dave Olson

An inexpensive system for maintaining desired water potentials throughout seed germination was developed. During hydration, a water reservoir at the base of inclined petri dishes allowed continual saturation of filter paper on which seeds were placed. During dehydration, seeds were exposed to equilibrium vapor pressures above saturated salt solutions. Constant temperature, necessary to prevent condensation of water vapor, was achieved via a small (0.2 A) fan that furnished and circulated heat throughout an insulated chamber in which salt solutions were placed. By operating the chamber above ambient laboratory temperature, interior cooling was not required. The system allowed manipulation of the rate, degree, and frequency of dehydration episodes to which germinating seeds were exposed.