Role of temperature in the germination ecology of three summer annual weeds

Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ambrosia artemisiifolia L., Chenopodium album L., and Amaranthus retroflexus L. are three summer annual weeds that occur in disturbed habitats. In nature, the peak germination season for A. artemisiifolia and C. album is in early to mid-spring, while in A. retroflexus the peak germination season is late spring to early summer. Furthermore, seeds of A. artemisiifolia germinate only in spring, while seeds of C. album and A. retroflexus germinate throughout the summer. In an attempt to explain the differential germination behavior of these three species in nature, changes in their germination responses to temperature during burial in a non-heated greenhouse from October 1974 to October 1975 were monitored. A high percentage of the seeds of all three species after-ripened during winter. Seeds of A. artemisiifolia and C. album germinated at temperatures characteristic of those in the field in early and mid-spring, but seeds of A. retroflexus required the higher temperatures of late spring and early summer for germination. Seeds of all three species germinated to higher percentages in light than in darkness. Non-dormant seeds of A. artemisiifolia that did not germinate in spring entered secondary dormancy. On the other hand, seeds of C. album and A. retroflexus that did not germinate when temperatures first became favorable for germination, did not enter secondary dormancy and, thus, retained the ability to germinate at summer field temperatures during summer. Thus, temporal differences in the germination behavior of these three species are caused by the differential reaction of the seeds to temperature during the annual temperature cycle.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)377-382
Number of pages6
JournalOecologia
Volume30
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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