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Home Publications Tropical Tree Seed Manual Chapter 5: Dormancy and Germination

Chapter 5: Dormancy and Germination

The seed phase is the most important stage in the life cycle of higher plants as regards survival; dormancy and germination are natural mechanisms to ensure this. The seed is often well equipped to survive extended periods of unfavorable conditions, and the embryo is protected by one or several layers of other tissues. These include endosperm, perisperm, seedcoats, and fruit tissues, which protect the embryo from physical damage and nourish it (in the case of the endosperm); all contribute to spreading the seeds after abscission. As we shall see, these surrounding layers play an important part in the regulation of dormancy and germination. For many tree species native to the northern hemisphere, with seed maturing and dispersing in late fall to early spring, dormancy is an acquired trait to carry them over the winter conditions ready for germination next spring. Similarly, for seeds of tropical tree species maturing and dispersing during the dry, hot season, dormancy prevents germination until the arrival of the rainy season

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Author(s): Michael T. Smith, Ben S.P. Wang, Heriel P. Msanga

Publication: Tropical Tree Seed Manual

Section: Chapter 5