Dormancy-breaking and germination requirements for seeds of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus (Caprifoliaceae)

Siti N. Hidayati, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Fruits (drupes) of Symphoricarpos orbiculatus ripen in autumn and are dispersed from autumn to spring. Seeds (true seed plus fibrous endocarp) are dormant at maturity, and they have a small, linear embryo that is underdeveloped. In contrast to previous reports, the endocarp and seed coat of S. orbiculatus are permeable to water; thus, seeds do not have physical dormancy. No fresh seeds germinated during 2 wk of incubation over a 15°/6°-35°/20°C range of thermoperiods in light (14-h photoperiod): gibberellic acid and warm or cold stratification alone did not overcome dormancy. One hundred percent of the seeds incubated in a simulated summer → autumn → winter → spring sequence of temperature regimes germinated, whereas none of those subjected to a winter → spring sequence did so. That is, cold stratification is effective in breaking dormancy only after seeds first are exposed to a period of warm temperatures. Likewise, embryos grew at cold temperatures only after seeds were exposed to warm temperatures. Thus, the seeds of S. orbiculatus have nondeep complex morphophysiological dormancy. As a result of dispersal phenology and dormancy-breaking requirements, in nature most seeds that germinate do so the second spring following maturity; a low to moderate percentage of the seeds may germinate the third spring. Seeds can germinate to high percentages under Quercus leaf litter and while buried in soil; they have little or no potential to form a long-lived soil seed bank.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1444-1451
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Botany
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2001


  • Caprifoliaceae
  • Cold stratification
  • Germination phenology
  • Imbibition curve
  • Morphophysiological seed dormancy
  • Symphoricarpos orbiculatus
  • Warm stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science


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