, Volume 31, Issue 2, pp 305-320

Seed Size as a Predictor of Germination Success and Early Seedling Growth in ‘Hollong’ (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus Vesque)

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Abstract

In species with seeds losing viability shortly after dispersal and exhibiting inherently low germination, quick decisions are required with respect to seeds that should be selected to maximize germination success and vigorous growth of seedlings. In ‘hollong’ (Dipterocarpus macrocarpus Vesque), I address the following questions: (a) are seeds that germinate randomly distributed within a seed population, (b) are subpopulations of viable and non-viable seeds separable, (c) does seed size predict which seeds germinate and (d) does seed size predict time required for germination and seedling vigour? Two estimators of seed size, diameter and weight, demonstrated a significant positive linear relationship endorsing assumption that accumulation of mass increases with increase in diameter of seeds. A threshold for selection of potential seeds for germination could not be derived from diameter measurements since seeds in an entire range of diameter did or did not germinate. All seeds <11 g did not germinate, but this threshold lies at the far lower end of the weight range and allows rejection of only a few seeds and acceptance of many seeds that will not germinate. A risk of potential seeds being rejected or non-viable seeds being picked exists if selection was derived from either diameter or weight. However, viable seeds could be better predicted from a scatter-plot of diameter on x-axis and weight on y-axis. Seeds showed a fan-shaped scatter and those developing the lower blade of the fan did not germinate while those following the handle were successful. Hence, two subpopulations segregated, but with a fuzzy edge. Mean diameter and mean weight of germinated seeds were significantly greater than those of ungerminated seeds. Most ungerminated seeds were those that had relatively smaller weight compared to their diameter. Although some large diameter seeds with small weight did germinate, but failed to develop into seedlings. Germination time and seedling vigour parameters (height, leaf number and collar diameter) were correlated both with diameter and weight. However, weight appears to have mattered more than diameter in germination success and early seedling growth.