Physical dormancy in seeds of the holoparasitic angiosperm Cuscuta australis (Convolvulaceae, Cuscuteae): Dormancy-breaking requirements, anatomy of the water gap and sensitivity cycling

K. M.G.Gehan Jayasuriya, Jerry M. Baskin, Robert L. Geneve, Carol C. Baskin, Ching Te Chien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

• Background and Aims: Dormancy in seeds of Cuscuta (Convolvulaceae, tribe Cuscuteae) is due to a water-impermeable seed coat (physical dormancy). In nondormant seeds of several species of this family, bulges adjacent to the micropyle have been identified as the initial route of water entry into seeds (water gap). However, there are claims that water enters seeds of Cuscuta spp. via the entire seed coat. Although several studies have been done on seed coat anatomy of Cuscuta, none has identified and/or characterized the morphology/anatomy of a water gap. Thus, the primary aim of this research was to identify and describe the morphology and anatomy of the water gap in seeds of Cuscuta australis. It was also determined if sensitivity cycling to dormancy-breaking treatments occurs in seeds of this species. • Methods: Light microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, tissue-sectioning and dye-tracking and blocking experiments were used to investigate the morphology and anatomy of the water gap. Treatments simulating natural conditions were used to break seed dormancy. Storage of seeds at different temperatures was tested for their effect on sensitivity to dormancy-breaking treatment. • Key Results: Dormancy-breaking treatments caused the tightly closed hilar fissure to open. Staining was observed in cells below the hilum area but not in those below the seed coat away from the hilum. Sensitivity to dormancy-breaking treatment was induced by storing seeds dry and reduced by storing them wet. • Conclusions: Whereas bulges adjacent to the micropyle act as the water gap in other species of Convolvulaceae with physical dormancy, the hilar fissure serves this function in Cuscuta. Cuscuta australis can cycle between insensitivity ↔ sensitivity to dormancy-breaking treatments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalAnnals of Botany
Volume102
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Keywords

  • Convolvulaceae
  • Cuscuta
  • Hilar fissure
  • Palisade layer
  • Physical dormancy
  • Seed coat anatomy
  • Seed dormancy
  • Seed germination
  • Sensitivity cycling
  • Water gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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