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Seed germination requirements of Buck’s beard [Aruncus dioicus (Walter) Fernald (Rosaceae)]

Giannì, Sergio, Aiello, Nicola, Lombardo, Gabriella Salvina, Fusani, Pietro
Plant biosystems 2019 v.153 no.1 pp. 5-11
Aruncus dioicus, cold, dormancy, gibberellic acid, herbaceous plants, potassium nitrate, seed coat, seed germination, seeds, shoots, viability, Italy
Aruncus dioicus (Walter) Fernald (Rosaceae) is a perennial herbaceous plant whose young shoots are traditionally collected in the wild and consumed as a food in NE Italy. The aim of this study was to determine the germination requirements of its seeds in order to start its cultivation, and to assess the germination of six accessions of the species. Viability of seeds ranged from 86 to 97% in the various accessions. Germination rate was almost null in seeds of two accessions, and ranged from 10.5 to 37.3 in the other ones. The seed coat was permeable to water. Treatments with GA₃, KNO₃ and mechanical scarification did not enhance the germination, while the cold stratification treatment at 2 °C for different periods improved the germination rate and the mean germination time as compared with the untreated seeds. With 45 days of cold stratification, the germination rate and mean germination time (respectively, 90.1% and 7.7 dd) of seeds were different from those of the untreated seeds. Cold stratified seeds germinated under artificial light and did not germinate in the dark. Seeds of A. dioicus displayed an intermediate physiological dormancy, removable by a cold stratification treatment, requiring both light and cold conditions.