Sand temperature and moisture break seed physical dormancy

Eremosparton songoricum, photo credit: Liu et al.

Seasonal periodicity of seed germination and its relationship to seasonal changes in temperature and soil moisture have been well studied in seeds of species with physiological dormancy. However, relatively little information is available on the role of these environmental factors in controlling the germination of seeds with physical dormancy. In a new study published in AoB PLANTS, Liu et al. determined whether Eremosparton songoricum (a perennial semi-shrub that inhabits the cold desert and produces seeds that show physical dormancy) exhibits seasonal periodicity of seed germination. They also investigated the relationship between seed dormancy break and soil temperature and moisture. To the authors’ knowledge this is the first study to document seasonal periodicity in seed germination in a cold desert species with physical dormancy and to identify the mechanism (at the whole-seed level) of its occurrence.


AoB PLANTS is an open-access, online journal that publishes peer-reviewed articles on all aspects of environmental and evolutionary biology. Published by Oxford University Press, AoB PLANTS provides a fast-track pathway for publishing high-quality research, where papers are available online to anyone, anywhere free of charge. Reasons to publish in AoB PLANTS include double-blind peer review of manuscripts, rapid processing time and low open-access charges.

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