Climatic regulation of seed dormancy and emergence of diverse Malva parviflora populations from a Mediterranean-type environment

P.J. Michael, K.J. Steadman, Julie Plummer

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    30 Citations (Scopus)


    Malva parviflora L. (Malvaceae) is rapidly becoming a serious weed of Australian farming systems. An understanding of the variability of its seed behaviour is required to enable the development of integrated weed management strategies. Mature M. parviflora seeds were collected from four diverse locations in the Mediterranean-type climatic agricultural region of Western Australia. All of the seeds exhibited physical dormancy at collection; manual scarification or a period of fluctuating summer temperatures (50/20 degrees C or natural) were required to release dormancy. When scarified and germinated soon (1 month) after collection, the majority of seeds were able to germinate over a wide range of temperatures (5-37 degrees C) and had no light requirement. Germination was slower for seeds stored for 2 months than seeds stored for 2 years, suggesting the presence of shallow physiological dormancy. Seed populations from regions with similar annual rainfall exhibited similar dormancy release patterns; seeds from areas of low rainfall (337-344mm) were more responsive to fluctuating temperatures, releasing physical dormancy earlier than those from areas of high rainfall (436-444mm). After 36 months, maximum seedling emergence from soil in the field was 60%, with buried seeds producing 13-34% greater emergence than seeds on the surface. Scanning electron microscopy of the seed coat revealed structural differences in the chalazal region of permeable and impermeable seeds, suggesting the importance of this region in physical dormancy breakdown of M. parviflora seeds. The influence of rainfall during plant growth in determining dormancy release, and hence, germination and emergence timing, must be considered when developing management strategies for M. parviflora.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)273-281
    JournalSeed Science Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2006


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