Intermediate complex morphophysiological dormancy in seeds of the cold desert sand dune geophyte Eremurus anisopterus (Xanthorrhoeaceae; Liliaceae s.l.)

Jannathan Mamut, Dun Yan Tan, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Little is known about morphological (MD) or morphophysiological (MPD) dormancy in cold desert species and in particular those in Liliaceae sensu lato, an important floristic element in the cold deserts of Central Asia with underdeveloped embyos. The primary aim of this study was to determine if seeds of the cold desert liliaceous perennial ephemeral Eremurus anisopterus has MD or MPD, and, if it is MPD, then at what level. Methods: Embryo growth and germination was monitored in seeds subjected to natural and simulated natural temperature regimes and the effects of after-ripening and GA3 on dormancy break were tested. In addition, the temperature requirements for embryo growth and dormancy break were investigated. Key Results: At the time of seed dispersal in summer, the embryo length:seed length (E:S) ratio was 0.73, but it increased to 0.87 before germination. Fresh seeds did not germinate during 1 month of incubation in either light or darkness over a range of temperatures. Thus, seeds have MPD, and, after >12 weeks incubation at 5/2 °C, both embryo growth and germination occurred, showing that they have a complex level of MPD. Since both after-ripening and GA3 increase the germination percentage, seeds have intermediate complex MPD. † Conclusions: Embryos in after-ripened seeds of E. anisopterus can growat low temperatures in late autumn, but if the soil is dry in autumn then growth is delayed until snowmeltwets the soil in early spring. The ecological advantage of embryo growth phenology is that seeds can germinate at a time (spring) when sand moisture conditions in the desert are suitable for seedling establishment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)991-999
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Botany
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1 2014

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author 2014.


  • Cold desert perennial ephemeral
  • Embryo growth
  • Eremurus anisopterus
  • Germination ecology
  • Germination phenology
  • Seed morphophysiological dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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