Linking seed germination and plant height: a case study of a wetland community on the eastern Tibet Plateau

K. Liu, S. Cao, G. Du, J. M. Baskin, C. C. Baskin, H. Bu, W. Qi, L. Ting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Seed germination is the earliest trait expressed in a plant's life history, and it can directly affect the expression of post-germination traits. Plant height is central to plant ecological strategies, because it is a major determinant of the ability of a species to compete for light. Thus, linking seed germination and plant height at the community level is very important to understanding plant fitness and community structure. Here, we tested storage condition and temperature requirements for germination of 31 species from a wetland plant community on the eastern Tibet Plateau and analysed correlation of germination traits with plant height in relation to storage condition. Germination percentage was positively related to plant height, and this relationship disappeared when seeds were incubated at a low temperature (i.e. 5 °C) or after they were stored under wet-cold conditions. The response of seeds to dry+wet–cold storage was negatively related to plant height. Based on the scores of each species on the first two principal components derived from PCA, species were classified into two categories by hierarchical clustering, and there was a significant difference between germination and plant height of species in these two categories. These results suggest that the requirements for seed germination together with seasonal change in environmental conditions determine the window for germination and, in turn, plant growth season and resource utilisation and ultimately plant height.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)886-893
Number of pages8
JournalPlant Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Guiyong He, Haozhi Sun, Zhitao Li and Xuelin Chen for help in collecting seeds and in identifying the species. This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No: 31670437 and 31760132) and the Gansu Province Natural Science Foundation (Grant No: 1606RJZA071).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 German Society for Plant Sciences and The Royal Botanical Society of the Netherlands


  • Plant traits
  • Tibet Plateau
  • storage condition
  • temperature requirement
  • wetland

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Plant Science


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