Seed development in Malva parviflora: onset of germinability, dormancy and desiccation tolerance
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The original article was published by CSIRO Publishing.
Seed development was examined in Malva parviflora. The first flower opened 51 days after germination; flowers were tagged on the day that they opened and monitored for 33 days. Seeds were collected at 12 stages during this period and used to determine moisture content, germination of fresh seeds and desiccation tolerance (seeds dried to 10% moisture content followed by germination testing). Seed moisture content decreased as seeds developed, whereas fresh (max. 296 mg) and dry weight (max. 212 mg) increased to peak at 12-15 and ~21 days after flowering (DAF), respectively. Therefore, hysiological maturity occurred at 21 DAF, when seed moisture content was 16-21%. Seeds were capable of germinating early in development, reaching a maximum of 63% at 9 DAF, but germination declined as development continued, presumably due to the imposition of physiological dormancy. Physical dormancy developed at or after physiological maturity, once seed moisture content declined below 20%. Seeds were able to tolerate desiccation from 18 DAF; desiccation hastened development of physical dormancy and improved germination. These results provide important information regarding M. parviflora seed development, which will ultimately improve weed control techniques aimed at preventing seed set and further additions to the seed bank.
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