Published for the Annals of Botany Co. by Academic Press
Annals of Botany vol:100 issue:2 pages:233-9
BACKGROUND AND AIMS: The European Chaerophyllum temulum and two North American Chaerophyllum species have a trans-Atlantic disjunct distribution. This work aimed to resolve requirements for dormancy break and germination of C. temulum seeds and to compare dormancy traits with those of the two North American congeners. METHODS: Phenology of germination and embryo growth was studied by regularly exhuming seeds sown in natural conditions. Temperature requirements for embryo growth, breaking of dormancy and germination were determined by incubating seeds under controlled laboratory conditions. Additionally the effect of GA(3) on germination was tested to determine the specific dormancy type. KEY RESULTS: In natural conditions, embryo growth starts in early winter. Seedlings emerge in late winter shortly after the embryos reached the critical ratio for embryo length to seed length (E : S) of approx. 0.95. Growth of the embryo only occurs during a prolonged incubation period at 5 degrees C. After stratification at 5 degrees C, which breaks physiological and morphological dormancy, seeds can germinate at a wide range of temperatures. GA(3) did not substitute for cold stratification in seeds placed at 23 degrees C. CONCLUSIONS: Chaerophyllum temulum has deep complex morphophysiological dormancy. This dormancy type differs considerably from that of the two North American congeners.