Moscow University Biological Sciences Bulletin

, Volume 73, Issue 4, pp 209–216 | Cite as

Germination of Aristolochia Seeds (Aristolochiaceae)

  • O. V. NakonechnayaEmail author
  • S. V. Nesterova
  • N. M. Voronkova


We studied the seed morphology and germination of 17 Aristolochia species (A. arborea, A. baetica, A. inflata, A. gigantea, A. gracilis, A. clematitis, A. contorta, A. fimbriata, A. labiata, A. littoralis, A. macrophylla, A. manshuriensis, A. maxima, A. rotunda, A. sempervirens, A. tomentosa, A. trilobata). The seeds of A. clematitis, A. contorta, A. trilobata, A. labiata, and A. maxima, as well as all species of Siphisia section (seeds with no wings), have the higher seed morphometric parameters. The seed weight characteristics of species typical of tropical climatic zones (the Gymnolobus section) were lower by ten or more times than those of the species of the other two sections, which are typical of a temperate climate. The greater weight of seeds studied for the species of Siphisia and Diplolobus sections is associated with the presence of a voluminous endosperm, which is required for the embryo development after a long period of time between dissemination and seedlings emergence. The period from sowing to the beginning of germination and the length of the germination period differ between species; the duration of germination is from 1 month to 3.5 years. The seeds of the species from temperate climatic zones (sections Diplolobus and Siphisia) have a non-deep simple morphophysiological dormancy, and the germination starts 1–11 months after seed sowing. We observed intervals in germination from 2 to 12 months in the species of the Diplolobus section; after the intervals, the germination process was continued. The seeds of most of the Gymnolobus section species from tropical zones have a morphological type of dormancy and germinate without intervals. The prolonged germination period and the type of morphophysiological dormancy of seeds have an adaptive value for the species conservation and survival in situ and ex situ.


Aristolochia seeds morphology seed size weight germination seed dormancy germination period distribution section Diplolobus section Gymnolobus section Siphisia 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    González, F.A. and Stevenson, D.W., A phylogenetic analysis of the subfamily Aristolochioideae (Aristolochiaceae), Rev. Acad. Colomb. Cienc. Exactas, 2002, vol. 26, no. 98, pp. 25–60.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bliss, B.J., Wanke, S., Barakat, A., et al., Characterization of the basal angiosperm Aristolochia fimbriata: A potential experimental system for genetic studies, BMC Plant Biol., 2013, vol. 13, p. 13. doi doi 10.1186/1471-2229-13-13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Shi, L.S., Kuo, P.C., Tsai, Y.L., Damu, A.G., and Wu, T.S., The alkaloids and other constituents from the root and stem of Aristolochia elegans, Bioorg. Med. Chem., 2004, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 439–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Austin, D.F., Ethnobotany of Florida’s weedy vines, Florida’s Garden of Good and Evil. Proceedings of a Joint Conference of the Exotic Pest Plant Council and the Florida Native Plant Society, West Palm Beach: South Florida Water Management District, 1999, pp. 171–179.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Jiménez-Ferrer, J.E., Pérez-Terán, Y.Y., Román-Ramos, R., and Tortoriello, J., Antitoxin activity of plants used in Mexican traditional medicine against scorpion poisoning, Phytomedicine, 2005, vol. 12, nos. 1–2, pp. 116–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Argueta, A., Cano, L., and Rodarte, M., Atlas de las Plantas de la Medicina Tradicional Mexicana, Mexico: Editorial Instituto Nacional Indigenista, 1994, vols. 2–3.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Zhou, J., Xie, G., and Yan, X., Encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicines: Molecular Structures, Pharmacological Activities, Natural Sources and Applications, Berlin–Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2011.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Teng, L., Shaw, D., and Barnes, J., Traditional Chinese herbal medicine, Pharm. J., 2006, vol. 276, pp. 361–363.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    González, F., Wagner, S.T., Salomo, K., Symmank, L., Marie-Stéphanie Samain, M.-S., Isnard S., Rowe N.P., Neinhuis, Ch., and Wanke, S., Present trans-Pacific disjunct distribution of Aristolochia subgenus Isotrema (Aristolochiaceae) was shaped by dispersal, vicariance and extinction, J. Biogeogr., 2014, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 380–391.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pfeifer, H.W., Revision of the North and Central American hexandrous species of Aristolochia (Aristolochiaceae), Ann. Missouri Bot. Gard., 1966, vol. 53, pp. 116–196.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Davidyuk, L.K., Life cycle of the birthwort in floodplain oak forests of the Gorky region, in Biologicheskie osnovy povysheniya produktivnosti i okhrany lesnykh, lugovykh i vodnykh fitotsenozov Gor’kovskogo Povolzh’ya (Biological Basis of Increasing the Productivity and Protection of Forest, Meadow and Aquatic Plant Communities of the Gorky Volga Region), Gorky: Gor’k. Gos. Univ., 1974, pp. 76–81.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Hall, D.W. and Brown, B.V., Pollination of Aristolochia littoralis (Aristolochiales: Aristolochiaceae) by males of Megaselia spp. (Diptera: Phoridae), Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am., 1993, vol. 86, no. 5, pp. 609–613.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Adams, C.A., Baskin, J.M., and Baskin, C.C., Comparative morphology of seeds of four closely related species of Aristolochia subgenus Siphisia (Aristolochiaceae, Piperales), Bot. J. Linn. Soc., 2005, vol. 148, no. 4, pp. 433–436.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Adams, C.A., Baskin, J.M., and Baskin, C.C., Trait stasis versus adaptation in disjunct relict species: Evolutionary changes in seed dormancy-breaking and germination requirements in a subclade of Aristolochia subgenus Siphisia (Piperales), Seed Sci. Res., 2005, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 161–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Berjano Pérez, R., Biologia de la Reproducción de dos Especies Mediterráneas de Aristolochia, Sevilla: Universidad de Sevilla, 2006.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Maekawa, L., Albuquerque, M.C.F., and Coelho, M.F.B., Germination of Aristolochia esperanzae O. Kuntze seeds under different temperatures and light conditions, Rev. Bras. Pl. Med., 2010, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 23–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Alves-da-Silva, D., Borghetti, F., Thompson, K., Pritchard, H., and Grime, J.P., Underdeveloped embryos and germination in Aristolochia galeata seeds, Plant Biol., 2011, vol. 13, suppl., pp. 104–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Zhou, J., Teixeira da Silva, J.A., and Ma, G., Effects of smoke water and karrikin on seed germination of 13 species growing in China, Cent. Eur. J. Biol., 2014, vol. 9, no. 11, pp. 1108–1116.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Baskin, C.C. and Baskin, J.M., Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of Dormancy and Germination, San Diego: Academic Press, 1998, 1st ed.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Keller, B.A., On fruits and seeds spread by spring water in flood plains of rivers, Russ. Gidrobiol. Zh., 1922, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 7–9.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Nakonechnaya, O.V., Gorpenchenko, T.Yu., Voronkova, N.M., Kholina, A.B., and Zhuravlev, Yu.N., Embryo structure, seed traits, and productivity of relict vine Aristolochia contorta (Aristolochiaceae), Flora, 2013, vol. 208, no. 4, pp. 293–297.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Johri, B.M. and Bhatnagar, S.P., A contribution to the morphology and life history of Aristolochia, Phytomorphology, 1955, vol. 5, no. 3, pp. 123–137.Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Voronkova, N.M., Kholina, A.B., Koldaeva, M.N., Nakonechnaya, O.V., and Nechaev, V.A., Morphophysiological dormancy, germination, and cryopreservation in Aristolochia contorta seeds, Plant Ecol Evol., 2018, vol. 151, no. 1, pp. 77–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Allerton Press, Inc. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • O. V. Nakonechnaya
    • 1
    Email author
  • S. V. Nesterova
    • 2
  • N. M. Voronkova
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal Scientific Center of East Asia Terrestrial BiodiversityFar East Branch, Russian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia
  2. 2.Botanical Garden-InstituteFar East Branch, Russian Academy of SciencesVladivostokRussia

Personalised recommendations