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Candice A. Shoemaker and William H. Carlson

Seeds of eight commonly grown bedding plant species [Ageratum houstonianum Mill., Begonia × semperflorens Hort., Impatiens wallerana Hook., Lobularia maritima (L.) Desv., Petunia × hybrida Hort., Pelargonium hortorum L.H. Bailey, Salvia splendens F. Sellow, Tagetes patula] were germinated at pH values from 4.5 to 7.5 at 0.5 increments. Seeds were germinated in petri dishes on filter paper saturated with buffer solutions or in petri dishes containing a 50 sphagnum peat: 50 coarse vermiculite (peatlite) medium moistened with buffer solutions. Germination on filter paper was affected by pH for all species tested. Peatlite medium pH affected germination of all species tested, except Salvia splendens. Species response to similar pH values differed between the two germination procedures. Total percent germination of seeds germinated was less in peatlite medium than on filter paper.

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Joseph K. Peterson, Howard F. Harrison, and Maurice E. Snook

After removal of the periderm, cortex tissue of the sweetpotato cultivar Regal was collected. Polar extracts of this tissue strongly inhibited germination of proso-millet seed. C18 preparative, step-gradient chromatography (H2O → 100% methanol) gave some 50+ fractions, all of which were assayed for inhibitory properties. Analytical HPLC, using diode array detection and signal processing, showed the presence of chlorogenic, p-coumaric and caffeic acid, scopolin and some unknown phenolic acids. Most fractions were inhibitory to some degree; however, the least polar ones (in 90% and 100% methanol), containing unknown compounds, were most inhibitory. Semi-prep HPLC of these fractions produced eight major peaks (λmax at 210–213 nm, λ2 at 281–284 nm). In our bioassays, the compounds produced 50% inhibition of proso-millet seed germination at ≈60 ppm. It is likely that these compounds contribute significantly to the allelopathic properties of sweetpotato.

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William J. Carpenter, Eric R. Ostmark, and John A. Cornell

The role of light on phlox germination and radicle emergence was studied. Neither light level nor duration affected total germination (G) percentages, which ranged from 93%. to 98%. Increasing light level and lengthening light duration delayed achieving 50% of final germination (T50) and increased the span in days between 10% and 90% germination (T90 - T10). Increasing light duration from 0 to 24 hours during germination at 0.15 μmol·s-1·m-2 progressively increased T50 from 3.5 to 7.1 days and T90 - T10 from 2.6 to 13.1 days. Similarly, lengthening light duration from 0 to 24 hours at 1.5 μmol·s-1·m-2 light increased T50 from 3.7 to 10.8 days and T90 - T10 from 2.8 to 13.4 days, whereas 15 μmol·s -1·m-2 increased T50 from 3.9 to 21.9 days and T90 - T10 from 2.9 to 29.2 days. Increasing the number of days in darkness from 0 to 6 decreased T50 from 14.8 to 4.3 days and T90 - T10 from 20.2 to 3.5 days. Increasing the number of days in light from O to 6 increased T50 from 4.0 to 8.9 days and T90 - T10 from 3.8 to 8.2 days. Estimated rates of decline or increase in T50 and T90 - T10 with each added day in darkness or light were measured by fitting regression equations. Seeds germinated in continuous darkness or in 24 or 48 hours of light followed by total darkness had similar G, T50, and T90 - T10. The results indicate that initial phlox seed germination was not affected by light, but that light inhibited radicle extension in later germination stages.

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S.M. Scheiber, Carol D. Robacker, and M.A. Dirr

Flowering evergreen shrubs that are compact and resistant to pests are in great demand in the nursery and landscape industries. The genus Abelia contains 30 species that vary in many traits including flower color, growth habit, and hardiness. Abelia × grandiflora (Andre) Rehd. and its cultivars are the most widely grown Abelia taxa and are characterized by pest resistance, an abundance of pinkish white flowers, long flowering period, and glossy evergreen foliage. Interspecific hybridization among Abelia × grandiflora, its cultivars, and other species in the genus Abelia offer the potential for new cultivars; however, seed germination within the genus has been described as slow and inconsistent. Experiments were conducted to test procedures to increase germination percentages and rates. Each Abelia seed is enclosed in a leathery achene. The effect of achene removal was examined in combination with cold, moist stratification for 60 days at 4 °C, immersion in 100 ppm gibberellic acid for 24 h, and no treatment. Treatments were replicated five times with 15 seeds per replication. Seeds were sown on sphagnum peat, and grown under mist in the greenhouse. Weekly germination counts were recorded for 8 weeks. Seeds with attached achenes germinated at a significantly higher percentage than those without achenes. Cold, moist stratification and gibberellic acid treatments were not significantly different than the control. No significant differences were found within the achene treatments for relative rate of emergence, but significant differences were found for the time until 90% of final emergence was reached.

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Marvin L. Baker

Fermentation and other seed pregermination treatments of Mayhaw [Crataegus opaca (1.) Hook and Arn-Series Aestivales] (Vines,; Phipps, 1988) were evaluated as potential requirements to increase germination percentages. Low seed germinability and arratic seedling emergence are major problems in Crataegus breeding. Freshly harvested fermented open-pollinated seed from 5 different Mayhaw selections averaged 93.4% at 8 days fermentation and 92.8% at 4 days fermentation. Frozen fruit stored from these 5 selections and later fermented 12 days showed the following higher percentages of germination: frozen storage for 10 days - 87.2% (<4 days fermentation (df); frozen storage for 20 days - 83.8% (<4 days df; frozen storage for 30 days - 74.4% (<8 df; frozen storage for 40 days - 72.6% (<4 df; frozen storage for 60 days - 70.2% (<4 df and frozen storage for 90 days - 60.8% (< 8 df. Positive responses to short fermentation durations (<8 days) were observed, but longer fermentation durations were deleterious. Embryo dormancy requiring acid treatment or stratification and problems with germination inhibiting substances were minimized by fermenting fresh ripened fruit containing large embryos. The fruits and seed were not allowed to dry and they were either prepared immediately or frozen for later use.

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Theresa L. Bosma, Janet C. Cole, Kenneth E. Conway, and John M. Dole

Canterbury bells (Campanula medium `Champion Blue') seeds were primed using calcined clay at 68 °F (20 °C) for 1, 3, or 5 days at water potentials (Ψ) of -25, -20, -18, or -16 bars (-2.5, -2.0, -1.8, or -1.6 MPa). Germination was fastest (3.0 to 3.1 days) after priming with a Ψ of -18 or -16 bars for 5 days. Seeds primed for 3 or 5 days with moisture present germinated faster than nonprimed seeds, but time to 50% germination (T50) was longer when seeds were primed for 1 day regardless of Ψ compared to nonprimed seed. Germination uniformity decreased (time from 10% to 90% germination, T10-90, increased) as Ψ increased. Although a curvilinear relationship existed between T10-90 and priming duration, T10-90 did not differ between nonprimed seeds and seeds in any priming treatment except those primed for 3 days with 20% moisture (-16 bars). Priming did not affect total germination percentage (97%).

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James W. Frisby and Schuyler D. Seeley

We compared peach [Prunus persica (L.) Batsch cv. Johnson Elberta] seed germination (G) and seedling emergence (E) after various stratification (St) treatments. Treatments were arranged in factorial combinations of five St durations (20 to 60 days) at eight constant temperatures (0 to 18C) in a completely randomized design followed by repeated measures during forcing time. G and E were recorded every 5 days during forcing. Seed St at 0 to 10C and 0 to 14C promoted G and E, respectively. G and E increased with longer St treatments at promoting temperatures. There was a weak correlation between G and E averaged over the forcing measurements (r 2 = 0.54). The best correlation was between E after 15 days and G after 10 days (r 2 = 0.83). The results indicate that G and E in peach are not identical indicators of endodormancy (ED) release and should not be used interchangeably. Forcing times must be considered when making comparisons between G and E.

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Ekaterina A. Jeliazkova, Valtcho D. Jeliazkov, Lyle E. Craker, and Baoshan Xing

Phytoremediation has been suggested as a solution to heavy metal—polluted soils, but the choices of suitable plant species for phytoremediation have been limited. Medicinal and aromatic plants appear to be excellent selections for these plantings, since these plants are grown for economically valuable secondary products (essential oils), not for food or feed. Preliminary research indicates that heavy metals are not accumulated in essential oils, permitting the oil to be used commercially. Productivity of some, but not all aromatic plants was reduced, however, by the heavy metals. The objective of our experiment was to distinguish the mechanism of heavy metal tolerance of plants using germinating seeds of medicinal and aromatic plant species. Seeds from medicinal and aromatic plants were germinated in solutions with selected levels of heavy metals (cadmium at 6 and 10 (μg·L-1; copper at 60 and 150 μg·L-1; lead at 100 and 500 μg·L-1; zinc at 400 and 800 μg·L-1) and in distilled water. Tests on Anethum graveolens L., Carum carvi L., Cuminum cyminum L., Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Pimpinella anisum L., Ocimum basilicum L., and the hyperaccumulator species Brassica juncea L. and Alyssum bertolonii established that different plant species reacted in different ways to the heavy metals. For example, cadmium did not decrease seed germination of Alyssum, O. basilicum, and B. juncea compared with germination in water but did decrease germination of C. cyminum. Lead did not affect germination of A. bertolonii and B. juncea as compared with water but did negatively affect germination of P. anisum, F. vulgare, and C. cyminum. Except for B. juncea, F. vulgare, and C. cyminum, copper had a negative effect on germination. Zinc decreased germination in all tested species except B. juncea.

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J. Ryan Stewart and William R. Graves

Little is known about the reproductive biology of carolina buckthorn [Rhamnus caroliniana Walt. or Frangula caroliniana (Walt.) Gray], an attractive North American shrub or small tree that might merit increased use in managed landscapes. The fecundity and high germinability of seeds of the Eurasian common buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica L.), however, have been characterized as factors contributing to its invasiveness. We compared seed germination of these species to ascertain how easily carolina buckthorn could be grown from seed in nurseries and to acquire data for predicting whether carolina buckthorn might be invasive if introduced into managed landscapes. Fruits of carolina buckthorn were collected from indigenous plants in central Missouri, southern Oklahoma, and southern Texas. Fruits of common buckthorn were collected from shrubs naturalized in central Iowa. Seeds of both species were stratified for up to 112 days in darkness at 4 °C; germination at 24 °C in the dark was then evaluated for 56 days. Quadratic functions best described how time of stratification influenced germination value and germination percentage of common buckthorn, whereas these measures of carolina buckthorn were best represented by exponential (value) or linear (percentage) functions. Stratification for 112 days maximized germination value and percentage for carolina buckthorn within the 56-day germination period, but shorter stratifications were sufficient to optimize germination of common buckthorn. While the overall mean germination of carolina buckthorn was 40%, results varied by provenance and ranged from 25% (Missouri) to 56% (Oklahoma). Mean germination of common buckthorn over times of stratification was 71%, and the overall mean daily germination of common buckthorn, 1.3, was 86% greater than that of carolina buckthorn, 0.7. We conclude that seeds of carolina buckthorn are more resistant to germination than seeds of common buckthorn. Our results suggest that plant propagators should cold-stratify seeds of carolina buckthorn for up to 112 days, and suggest that carolina buckthorn has a lower potential to be invasive than does common buckthorn.

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Frank Balestri and William R. Graves

gum can germinate with pulp of drupes intact, although it is unknown whether pulp enhances or impedes seed germination of Nyssa spp. Fagan et al. (1981) demonstrated that seeds of lily turf [ Liriope muscari (Decne.) L.H. Bailey] with their mealy