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Seed Germination Patterns in Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium, Araceae)

J. Yang, J. Lovett-Doust and L. Lovett-Doust
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 86, No. 8 (Aug., 1999), pp. 1160-1167
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2656980
Page Count: 8
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Seed Germination Patterns in Green Dragon (Arisaema dracontium, Araceae)
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Abstract

Arisaema dracontium (green dragon) is a perennial herb that is widely distributed in eastern North America. However, in Canada, at the northern edge of its distribution, the species is designated as "vulnerable" with respect to conservation status. In natural populations, seedlings are uncommon; the present study was undertaken in order to characterize seed and seedling properties in green dragon. Seeds were sampled from five sites, ranging from Ontario at the northern limit of the distribution range, to Louisiana in the south. Seed germinability ranged from 25 to 55%, depending upon source. Experiments indicated that neither the hard seed coat nor a water-soluble exudate from the seed was responsible for inducing or maintaining dormancy. Patterns of seed germination appear to reflect general climatic conditions at the sites where seeds had originated. Cold stratification at 3⚬C produced significantly greater relative germinability in all seed collections except the most southerly one, from Baton Rouge. These seeds also had a slower overall speed of germination. In contrast, germination of seeds from the most northerly site was promoted by cold stratification and occurred over a relatively brief period. Germination in alternating light and dark conditions decreased the speed of germination compared to germination in the dark, however exposure to light changed the phenology of germination by promoting development of adventitious roots and primary leaves in these seedlings.

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