Seed dormancy can prevent germination under unfavourable conditions that reduce the chances of seedling survival. Freshly harvested seeds often have strong primary dormancy that depends on the temperature experienced by the maternal plant and which is gradually released through afterripening. However, seeds can be induced into secondary dormancy if they experience conditions or cues of future unfavourable conditions. Whether this secondary dormancy induction is influenced by seed-maturation conditions and primary dormancy has not been explored in depth. In this study, we examined secondary dormancy induction in seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana matured under different temperatures and with different levels of afterripening. We found that low water potential and a range of temperatures, from 8°C to 35°C, induced secondary dormancy. Secondary dormancy induction was affected by the state of primary dormancy of the seeds. Specifically, afterripening had a non-monotonic effect on the ability to be induced into secondary dormancy by stratification; first increasing in sensitivity as afterripening proceeded, then declining in sensitivity after 5 months of afterripening, finally increasing again by 18 months of afterripening. Seed-maturation temperature sometimes had effects that were independent of expressed primary dormancy, such that seeds that had matured at low temperature, but which had comparable germination proportions as seeds matured at warmer temperatures, were more easily induced into secondary dormancy. Because seed-maturation temperature is a cue of when seeds were matured and dispersed, these results suggest that the interaction of seed-maturation temperature, afterripening and post-dispersal conditions all combine to regulate the time of year of seed germination.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science