Aim of study: We studied the germination ecology of a threatened daffodil in order to develop a protocol to produce plants ex-situ from seeds, a key tool for population reinforcement.
Area of study: Experiments were carried out both outdoors and in the laboratory in Albacete (Spain).
Material and methods: Embryo length, radicle and shoot emergence were analyzed to determine the level of morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). Effects on germination of cold stratification or desiccation in late stages of embryo growth were also studied.
Main results: Mean embryo length in fresh seeds was 1.36 mm, needing to grow up to 2.20 mm to be able to germinate. In the laboratory, embryo growth occurred during warm stratification (28/14, 25/10ºC), and then radicle emerged when temperatures went down (15/4ºC in darkness). Phenology study in outdoors conditions revealed that embryo grew during summer-early autumn, short time after seed dispersal in nature (i.e., May); radicle emerged in autumn. The shoot however did not emerge until late winter-early spring, because it was physiologically dormant and required a cold (5ºC) period of 30 days to break dormancy. Early cold temperatures interrupted the embryo growth and induced dormancy in seeds whose embryo had grown 30% with respect to the initial length. Desiccation in seeds whose embryo had grown 30% did not induce dormancy, but did it when the embryo growth reached 70%.
Research highlights: Seeds of Narcissus radinganorum have deep simple epicotyl MPD.
Key words: dormancy break; radicle emergence; shoot emergence; epicotyl MPD; phenology; secondary dormancy.