Kapok (Bombax ceiba) is a deciduous tree that can grow in the dry-hot valley of southwestern China where its natural regeneration by seedlings is difficult. As mature fruit split open and seeds disperse by wind, it is difficult to collect fully mature seeds. The effects of seed moisture content (MC) and storage temperatures on seed germination of dark-brown seeds collected from split fruit and light-brown seeds collected ≈10–15 days earlier than the time of fruit split were studied to determine the effective germplasm preservation via the seeds. Dark-brown mature seeds could tolerate desiccation to less than 5% MC and could tolerate −20 and −80 °C. Seeds of kapok showed orthodox storage behavior. They can be stored at subzero temperatures with low MC for a long time. For light-brown seeds, germination percentage (GP), germination index (GI), seedling fresh weight (SFW), and vigor index (VI) decreased significantly after seed desiccation. Germination percentage of light-brown seeds with different MC increased to a different extent after being stored at different temperatures for 1 year (76% to 99%), compared with the fresh seeds (73%). Storing fresh seeds at 4 °C was most favorable to keep seed viability and seed vigor of light-brown seeds. Seed collection could be done several days earlier than the time of fruit burst to ensure increased quantity of collected seeds.
Mumian (Bombax ceiba) is a deciduous tree that can grow in the dry-hot valley of southwestern China. However, natural regeneration of mumian is significantly inhibited by some factors such as high temperature that can accelerate seed deterioration. The objective of this study was to identify the change of seedling growth component(s) in response to seed aging at 45 °C either at low relative humidity (15%) or at high relative humidity (100%) for 0, 1, 2, 3, and 4 days. Germination assay results at 30 °C in darkness showed an interaction between relative humidity and aging duration. At high temperature and low relative humidity seedling growth, weight of used seed reserve and fraction of seed reserve depletion significantly decreased with increasing of aging duration. But the conversion efficiency of mobilized reserve to seedling tissues did not change significantly. In contrast, at high temperature and high relative humidity, seedling growth and conversion efficiency of seed reserve utilization decreased significantly, but weight of used seed reserve and fraction of seed reserve depletion did not change significantly until seeds were dead. It was concluded that there existed a different pattern of seed reserve utilization for seeds aged at low and high relative humidity, and humidification of seeds at 45 °C for 1 day is a possible way to increase germination of mumian.