Interpopulation variation in germination response to fire-related cues and after-ripening in seeds of the evergreen perennial Anigozanthos flavidus (Haemodoraceae)

Hongyuan Ma, Todd E. Erickson, Jeffrey L. Walck, David J. Merritt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Variations in the degree of seed dormancy expressed among conspecific populations provide a basis for improving understanding of the mechanisms controlling species persistence, especially in fire-prone ecosystems. We investigated seed germination of 12 Anigozanthos flavidus populations in response to various fire-related cues that included exposure to karrikinolide, glyceronitrile and smoke water at five temperatures, and the effects of heat shock and its interaction with glyceronitrile. Seeds from populations with deep-degree dormancy (DD) and light-degree dormancy (LD) were subjected to 0-8 months of after-ripening, and the viability of the ungerminated seeds was tested. The degree of seed dormancy and responses to fire-related cues were highly variable among populations. Glyceronitrile and smoke water significantly improved germination in 12 and 8 populations respectively. Heat significantly enhanced germination in all populations, but was less effective when combined with glyceronitrile. After-ripening for 3 months increased germination, whereas ≥4 months led to secondary dormancy or loss of viability. Loss of viability was greater for DD than for LD seeds. Interpopulation variations in the degree of seed dormancy, seed germination requirements for fire-related cues and germination viability in response to after-ripening in A. flavidus contribute to persistence in the variable and unpredictable Mediterranean environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)950-960
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Wildland Fire
Volume29
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

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