Narcissus longispathus (Amaryllidaceae) is a perennial geophyte and a Mediterranean narrowly endemic species. At dispersal time, N. longispathus seeds are dormant and have underdeveloped embryos. This work aimed to determine requirements for dormancy break and germination and to compare dormancy traits with those of the two endemic Iberian congeners. Phenology of embryo growth and germination were studied by regularly exhuming seeds sown in near-natural conditions. Temperature and light requirements for embryo growth, breaking of dormancy and germination were determined by incubating seeds under controlled laboratory conditions. Mean embryo length in fresh seeds was 1.50 mm, and embryos had to grow to 3.80 mm before radicle emergence. Embryos grew to full size and seeds germinated when they were warm stratified for 2 months (optimum 1 month at 20/7°C+1 month at 15/4°C), then cold stratified at 5°C for 2 months, and finally incubated at cool temperatures (15/4°C) for 30 d. However, in seeds only subjected to either warm or cold stratification, the embryos hardly grew and did not germinate. In natural conditions, the embryos elongate in autumn–winter, and in late winter–early spring (March) almost all radicles and seedlings emerged. Velocity of embryo growth and germination percentages increased with seed storage duration. Seeds of N. longispathus have non-deep complex morphophysiological dormancy (MPD). This is the first report of such a level of MPD in Narcissus. Our data suggest that non-deep complex MPD may have been derived from intermediate complex MPD in the section Pseudonarcissi.
Keywords: dormancy-break, embryo growth, germination, germination phenology, Narcissus longispathus, non-deep complex morphophysiological dormancy.