Enhancing germination and seedling growth in Vitex doniana Sweet for horticultural prospects and conservation of genetic resources uri icon

abstract

  • Many fruit trees with a hard seed coat exhibit seed dormancy, posing problems for their regeneration. Vitex doniana, an indigenous multipurpose but threatened fruit and vegetable tree that supports the livelihoods of many households in West Africa, is a typical example. In our research, we evaluated five dormancy-breaking treatments. We tested the effects of sulphuric acid at 95% concentration (T1); 3 d sun-drying + 48 h soaking in tap water (T2); 3 d alternation of 8 h sun-drying + 1 h soaking in tap water (T3); 2 weeks sun-drying with regular watering in the daytime (T4); and physical shock (T5). These treatments were compared with two controls (T0 and Tc), with seeds from two different sources. The germination percentage, mean germination time, time to first germination and time to threshold germination (20%) were compared; the seedling height, diameter and biomass produced were monitored for 15 weeks. We used generalised linear models and correlation tests to compare the effects of the various treatments on germination and seedling growth. T3 significantly enhanced seed germination in V. doniana (72% after 12 months). T4 best promoted homogeneity in germination (p < 0.01), followed by T3. The best seedling growth was obtained with T4 and T3. Alternation of sun-drying followed by soaking of seeds, a technique with almost no cost, improved seed germination in V. doniana and, in 33 d, just over 1 month, 20% germination can be achieved. Vitex doniana is a fast-growing species (at the nursery stage), in contrast to the common opinion. Conclusion. Our method should be further investigated to assess the adequate soaking and drying length so as to speed up germination and reach homogenous cohorts

publication date

  • 2014
  • 2014