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How Fast and Why Do Germinating Guanacaste Seeds (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) Die Inside Cows and Horses?

D. H. Janzen, M. W. Demment and J. B. Robertson
Biotropica
Vol. 17, No. 4 (Dec., 1985), pp. 322-325
DOI: 10.2307/2388595
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388595
Page Count: 4
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How Fast and Why Do Germinating Guanacaste Seeds (Enterolobium cyclocarpum) Die Inside Cows and Horses?
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Abstract

Scarified and unscarified guanacaste seeds were subjected to in vitro fermentation using either rumen or caecal inoculum to test their germination response to the fermentation processes of cattle and horses. The fermentation was terminated at various times after inoculation, and the seeds planted under greenhouse conditions to evaluate viability. One day of exposure to either rumen or caecal in vitro fermentation killed 90 percent of the scarified seeds, and none survived longer than two days. No unscarified seeds germinated in the flasks. Scarification appears to be a critical process affecting the survivorship of seeds in the guts of large, mammalian herbivores. Because functional differences in the foregut between ruminants and nonruminants impose different chewing patterns and passage rates on these groups, we postulate that these factors are responsible for the lower proportion of scarified seeds in the feces of ruminants. In the large mammalian herbivores, nonruminants function as seed predators while ruminants are better disposal agents for guanacaste seeds.

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