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  • Author or Editor: Orlanda Cristina Barros Moreira x
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Prunus azorica is an Azorean endemic tree considered as a priority species for conservation. It is important as a laurel forest component, particularly at medium altitude, and as a food source for the endangered bird Pyrrhula murina. The best conditions for seed germination were investigated after removal of the outer layers of the fruit by determining the effect of 1) using stones or seeds; 2) stratification regime (six treatments and a control); 3) incubation temperature (four alternating temperature regimes); and 4) gibberellic acid concentration (three levels). This resulted in a fully factorial design with 168 (2 × 7 × 4 × 3) treatments with three replicates per treatment and 25 seeds per replicate. Cumulative germination percentages were determined at the end of the trial. Globally, there was a significant effect of endocarp removal (49% germination with seeds and 15% with stones). Both for stones and seeds, there was a significant effect of incubation temperature, stratification regime, and growth regulator concentration. Stones attained a maximum germination of ≈80% under several stratification treatments including cold (4 °C) or warm (20 °C) followed by cold and at 10/5 °C without the addition of a growth regulator. Seeds attained a maximum germination of greater than 90% without stratification at 10/5 or 15/10 °C without the addition of a growth regulator. During the stratification process, germination occurred only for seeds, particularly for longer treatments, for example, those corresponding to 3 or more months of stratification, including warm followed by cold (75% to 80%) or cold alone (77%). According to seed morphology and germination results, the seed appears to have a non-deep physiological dormancy. Seeds of P. azorica can thus be efficiently germinated after endocarp removal at temperatures of 10/5 or 15/10 °C with a daily light period of 12 hours. This protocol allowed producing hundreds of viable seedlings that were used in the reforestation of a laurel forest stand in a LIFE project.

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