Epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of Paeonia ostii (Paeoniaceae): Seasonal temperature regulation of germination phenology

Keliang Zhang, Haolei Pan, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin, Zuoming Xiong, Weizhang Cao, Linjun Yao, Bin Tang, Chuni Zhang, Jun Tao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Paeonia is one of the most popular ornamental plants in temperate regions, and its seeds have epicotyl dormancy. Our primary aim was to determine the sequence of temperatures required for radicle and shoot emergence in seeds of P. ostii and how these two distinct stages of dormancy-break are correlated with natural seasonal temperature changes. We tested the effects of various temperature regimes and sequences of regimes on growth of the underdeveloped embryo inside the seed, radicle emergence and shoot growth in the laboratory and germination responses to temperature under natural temperatures in an experimental garden and analyzed ABA and GA concentrations during the dormancy-breaking process. Prior to radical emergence, embryo length increased c. 330%. Embryo elongation and radicle emergence occurred in early October following seed dispersal in summer. The epicotyl-plumule did not differentiate until after embryo growth was completed and the radicle had emerged. Cold stratification was required to break epicotyl dormancy; consequently, shoot emergence did not occur until February when the temperature began to increase. Thus, seed dormancy break in P. ostii is phenologically well adapted to the seasonal cycle of the temperate zone. ABA and GA analyses suggest that root dormancy might be due to high ABA content and shoot dormancy to low GA content.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104742
JournalEnvironmental and Experimental Botany
StatePublished - Feb 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Epicotyl dormancy
  • Paeonia
  • Radicle and shoot emergence
  • Seed germination
  • Underdeveloped embryo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Plant Science


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