, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 73-82
Date: 23 Dec 2006

Butenolide from plant-derived smoke enhances germination and seedling growth of arable weed species

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We tested the applicability of the recently identified major germination cue from smoke (a butenolide 3-methyl-2Hfuro[2,3-c]pyran-2-one) on 18 weed species from non-fire prone environments. For the study species we compared the relative effectiveness of alternating temperatures, KNO3, GA3, smoke water and the butenolide on germination percentage, germination rate and seedling mass. We found that while smoke stimulated germination in a number of species it also had negative impacts on other species. In addition, the butenolide was effective on the widest range of species in terms of enhancing germination percentage, rate and seedling mass. However, none of the treatments, including butenolide were effective on all species. Our data demonstrate that butenolide may have wide applicability as a germination and seedling growth stimulant irrespective of whether the species come from fire-prone habitats.