Responses of Winterfat Seeds and Seedlings to Desiccation

J. Q. Hou, J. T. Romo, Y. Bai, D. T. Booth
1999 Journal of range management  
Winterfat [Krascheninnikovia lanata (Gueldenstaedt) syn. Ceratoides lanata (Pursh) J.T. Howell, syn. Eurotia lanata (Pursh) Moq.] is a native shrub of mixed prairie of North America. A large portion of hydrated seeds and seedlings can be killed when exposed to seedbed desiccation. Winterfat seeds and young seedlings subjected to varying levels of desiccation were studied to measure the influence of this stress. Germination was unaffected (P>0.05) when seeds were exposed for 0 to 10
more » ... iccation cycles (2 hours hydration and 22 hours desiccation cycle -1 at 20 to 30% relative humidity and 20°C). Linear increases in germination rate (0.6% day -1 hydration-desiccation cycle -1 ), seedling length (0.1 mm hydration-desiccation cycle -1 ), and seed decay (1.5% hydration-desiccation cycle -1 ) occurred with an increasing number of hydration-desiccation cycles. Seedling survival following desiccation decreased 10.4% mm -1 as seedling length increased from <2mm to 10-15 mm. Seedling survival was positively correlated with relative humidity and negatively correlated with duration of desiccation. The difference (P<0.05) in survival between 0 and 90% relative humidity was 62% for seedlings 4-6-mm in length and 70% for seedlings 9-11-mm in length. Seedlings from seeds that germinated rapidly were more tolerant of desiccation than those from seeds germinating slowly. After desiccation in 30% relative humidity, survival of seedlings from seeds germinating on the first day of incubation was 40% greater than those from seeds germinating on the third day of incubation. Electrolyte leakage indicated that desiccation damaged cells. Establishment of winterfat seedlings will be favored by seedbed conditions that protect seedlings from severe and prolonged desiccation and allow fast entry of the radicle into soil.
doi:10.2307/4003551 fatcat:52d5e2tepzah5gwexu6fw4bidi