Seed germination of agricultural weeds is promoted by the butenolide 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one under laboratory and field conditions

Jason Stevens, David Merritt, Gavin Flematti, Emilio Ghisalberti, Kingsley Dixon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

88 Citations (Scopus)


Here we report that a synthesised form of a naturally occurring chemical (a butenolide, 3-methyl-2H-furo[2,3-c]pyran-2-one) found in smoke can stimulate seedling emergence of the economically important weed species Avena fatua L. (Poaceae), Arctotheca calendula (L.) Levyns (Asteraceae), Brassica tournefortii Gouan (Brassicaceae), and Raphanus raphanistrum L. (Brassicaceae) under field conditions at rates equivalent to 2-20 g/ha a.i. The butenolide also stimulates germination of freshly collected seeds from wild populations of these species, as well as those of Sisymbrium orientale L. (Brassicaceae), Hordeum leporinum Link (Poaceae) and Echium plantagineum L. (Boraginaceae) under laboratory conditions, consistently greater than that of smoke water. Experiments using B. tournefortii seeds collected from several locations across Western Australia and in different growing seasons found that these factors significantly influence the butenolide response, implying a role of the maternal environment in seed germination/dormancy characteristics. This research highlights the potential of butenolide as an agent for broad acre weed control and land restoration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-124
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1/2
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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