Desiccation Response of Seeds of Himalayan Oak, Quercus floribunda Lindl. ex A. Camus
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Quercus floribunda, an important western Himalayan oak, has a great ecological importance. As seeds are sensitive to moisture loss, seed maturation and germination is, therefore, synchronized with the commencement of monsoon rainfall. A delay in monsoon can thus drastically inhibit the recruitment of seedlings. However, the level of such sensitivity of seeds towards desiccation in Q. floribunda is not earlier studied in the region. In view of this gap, effects of desiccation on seed germination of Q. floribunda were examined across different moisture levels. Datasets on seed morphological characteristics, moisture content and seed germinability were recorded. Results indicated that seed likelihood sensitivity to desiccation (P) was much higher (0.84) in Q. floribunda as compared to suggested minimum value of (0.5) beyond which seeds are considered desiccation sensitive. The species is thus characterized as desiccation sensitive that significantly loses per cent germination with drying period. It is recommended that the seeds of Q. floribunda should be sown within 7 days, when the seed moisture content remains at critical level of 34%. These results have implications in forestry practice, conservation and management for coping with practical problems of storing Q. floribunda seeds.
KeywordsDesiccation sensitivity Himalayan oaks Seed germination Quercus floribunda
Authors are thankful to the Director, G. B. Pant National Institute of Himalayan Environment and Sustainable Development (GBPNIHESD), Kosi-Katarmal, Almora, Uttarakhand (India), for encouragement and facilities. The financial support from Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, New Delhi, under Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) Fellowship (IF131069) to Mrs. Meenakshi Negi is gratefully acknowledged.
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