New Forests

, Volume 44, Issue 4, pp 547–557 | Cite as

Breaking seed dormancy in European rowan seeds and its implications for regeneration



The effects of the presence of a medium, seed moisture content, warm and chilling treatments on the germination response of European rowan (Sorbus aucuparia L.) seeds of Irish origin were investigated with the aim of reducing precocious (or premature) germination and maximising germination after pretreatment. After adjusting seed moisture content, seeds of two lots were subjected to warm treatment for 0–6 weeks followed by 0–50 weeks of chilling. The seeds then were allowed to germinate at a constant 15 °C with 8 h lighting per day or 20 (dark)/30 °C (light). Some seeds were treated in the fully imbibed (FI) state in a medium (standard operational treatment). Seed lot effects were evident, but treatment effects were consistent in each lot. Warm treatment greatly increased germination and reduced precocious germination. The presence of a medium was not required to achieve high germination and seed moisture content close to the FI state was needed to maximise germination. Climate change may reduce the ability of this species to regenerate naturally, favouring other species that require less chilling.


Seed moisture content Pretreatments Dormancy Chilling Germination 



The Departemnt of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM), part of the COFORD (predecessor organization) funding program funded this research. P. Doody (National Seed Centre, Ballintemple, Ardattin, Co. Carlow, Ireland) provided invaluable advice on the practical aspects of the research.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and Food Science, Agriculture and Food Science CentreUniversity College DublinDublin 4Ireland

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