Versatility in the timing of seed germination of the cold desert herbaceous perennial Leontice incerta (Berberidaceae)

Jannathan Mamut, Cai Yun Zhang, Dun Yan Tan, Carol C. Baskin, Jerry M. Baskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Only a few studies have been performed on seed germination of perennial ephemeral species native to the cold deserts of central Asia. We hypothesized that seeds of the cold desert perennial ephemeral Leontice incerta exhibit versatility in the timing of germination, that is, having the capacity to germinate at any time in summer, autumn and next spring. At dispersal in late May, only about 30% of the seeds could germinate; thus, a high percentage of the seeds was dormant. Seeds had a fully developed embryo, and dry storage, cold stratification, warm stratification and gibberellin promoted germination; we concluded that they have non-deep physiological dormancy. Seeds buried under natural conditions during summer germinated to 57-86% in autumn (late October) when exhumed and incubated at 5/2-25/15°C. However, seeds were sown in soil exposed to natural temperature and (low) precipitation did not germinate until next spring when the soil was moist. Thus, like various cold desert annuals, seeds of the perennial L. incerta can germinate in summer, autumn and next spring, depending on the availability of soil moisture (rainfall). Rainfall in cold deserts can play an important role in shaping seed germination traits of desert plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-44
Number of pages8
JournalSeed Science Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Cambridge University Press 2020.


  • Leontice incerta
  • cold desert
  • germination ecophysiology
  • herbaceous perennial
  • physiological dormancy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science


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