Overview of seed dormancy in Viburnum (Caprifoliaceae)

Carol Caudle Baskin, Shun Ying Chen, Ching Te Chien, Jerry Mack Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Many species of Viburnum are cultivated ornamentals, but their propagation from seeds may require many months. This overview provides a better understanding of why germination may take so long. Seeds have a linear underdeveloped embryo which must grow inside the seed before the root emerges. In addition, the embryo has physiological dormancy (PD); thus, seeds have morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). In most species of Viburnum, there is a period of several weeks or months between root and shoot emergence, and this kind of dormancy is described as deep simple epicotyl MPD. Warm stratification (summer) is required to break part of the PD, after which the embryo grows and the root emerges (autumn). Then, the seed with the developing root must be cold-stratified to break the remaining PD in the shoot, which emerges in spring. An analysis of the dormancy-breaking and germination requirements of seeds with deep simple epicotyl MPD reveals that only the shoot has this level of MPD; the root has nondeep simple MPD and thus requires only warm stratification to break the PD and promote growth of the embryo. In at least a few species of Viburnum, the shoot has only nondeep simple MPD, and dormancy in seeds of these species is described as nondeep simple epicotyl MPD. We discuss use of the " move-along" experiment to help define the seed dormancy-breaking and germination requirements of a species and present data for V. formosanum, which has nondeep simple epicotyl MPD. Clearly, if cold stratification is given first, in this and other species of Viburnum, i.e., seeds are sown in early winter, germination is delayed because breaking of the first part of PD (by warm stratification) cannot occur until summer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-121
Number of pages7
JournalPropagation of Ornamental Plants
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2009


  • Cold stratification
  • Epicotyl dormancy
  • Physiological dormancy
  • Seed germination
  • Underdeveloped embryo
  • Warm stratification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Plant Science


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