Sensitivity cycling and its ecological role in seeds with physical dormancy

K. M.G.Gehan Jayasuriya, Jerry M. Baskin, Carol C. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cycling of physically dormant (PY) seeds between states insensitive and sensitive to dormancy-breaking factors in the environment has recently been demonstrated in Fabaceae and Convolvulaceae, and it may be a common phenomenon in seeds with water-impermeable seed coats. In contrast to seeds of many species with physiological dormancy (PD), those with PY cannot cycle between dormancy and non-dormancy (ND). In this paper, we evaluate the role of sensitivity cycling in controlling the timing of germination of seeds with PY in nature, and show that sensitivity cycling in seeds with PY serves the same ecological role as dormancy cycling in seeds with PD. Thus, sensitivity cycling in seeds with PY ensures that germination in nature occurs only at (a) time(s) of the year when environmental conditions for growth are, and are likely to remain, suitable long enough for the plant to complete its life cycle or to form a perennating structure. Further, we describe the experimental procedures necessary to determine whether sensitivity cycling is occurring, and discuss briefly the possible relevance of sensitivity cycling to dormancy classification.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-13
Number of pages11
JournalSeed Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2009


  • Dormancy cycling
  • Hilar fissure
  • Physical dormancy
  • Sensitivity cycling
  • Water gap

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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