The effect of phosphorus (P) concentration in barley seed on seedling growth has not been much investigated. Consequently, two experiments were conducted in the greenhouse to determine the effect of P concentration in barley seed (Hordeum vulgare L., cv. Empress) on the seedlings grown in sand-filled boxes receiving a culture solution without P. Seeds were selected with three P concentrations: high-P (113.0 mmol P kg−1), medium-P (80.7 mmol P kg−1) and low-P (54.9 mmol P kg−1). At 21 days after sowing, the shoot and root yield or shoot height was the least with seedlings from low-P seed. In the other experiment, high-P and low-P seeds were wetted with distilled water or with a solution of 25.8 cmol L−1 of NaH2PO4 for 24 h, and then grown for 31 days. Solution P had been imbibed by seeds whether low or high in native P, but only the imbibed P held by low native P seed benefited seedling dry matter accumulation and shoot elongation. The lack of benefit from seed-imbibed P on seedlings grown from high-P barley seed was associated with low recovery of the imbibed P in those seedlings.
germination P imbibition by seed sand culture shoot elongation barley