Delayed dehiscence of the pericarp: role in germination and retention of viability of seeds of two cold desert annual Brassicaceae species

J. J. Lu, D. Y. Tan, C. C. Baskin, J. M. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Considerable variation occurs in post-maturity timing of dehiscence in fruits of Brassicaceae species, and several studies have shown that the pericarp plays an important role in seed germination and retention of viability in species with indehiscent fruits. However, little is known about the significance to seed biology of delay in pericarp dehiscence for <1 year in the field. Thus, we determined the role of the pericarps of Leptaleum filifolium and Neotorularia korolkovii, which open in <1 year after fruit maturity and dispersal, in seed germination and retention of seed viability. We compared dormancy-break via after-ripening in the laboratory and germination phenology and retention of seed viability in intact siliques and isolated seeds buried in an experimental garden. Seeds of both species have Type 6 non-deep physiological dormancy, which is enhanced by the pericarp. Seeds of both species after-ripened during summer 2013, and some of them germinated in autumn and some in the following spring in watered and non-watered soil. Germination percentages of seeds in siliques increased in soil in spring 2014, after the pericarps had opened. Most isolated seeds of L. filifolium and N. korolkovii had germinated or were dead by spring 2014 and summer 2015, respectively, whereas 60% of the seeds of both species in the (opened) pericarps were viable after 24 months. Thus, although the pericarp opened 9–10 months after burial, its presence had a significant effect on seed dormancy, germination phenology and retention of viability of seeds of L. filifolium and N. korolkovii.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-22
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the National Natural?Science Foundation of China (41361011, U1130301, 31470320), the Key Project of the Chinese Ministry of Education (213038A) and the Specimen Platform of China, Teaching Specimens Sub-platform (, 2005DKA21403-JK). We thank the National Meteorological Information Center, China Meteorological Administration, for providing the weather data.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 German Botanical Society and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands


  • After-ripening
  • Brassicaceae species
  • pericarp dehiscence
  • seed dormancy
  • seed germination
  • seed viability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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