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A review of the seed biology of Paeonia species (Paeoniaceae), with particular reference to dormancy and germination

  • Keliang Zhang
  • Linjun Yao
  • Yin Zhang
  • Jerry M. Baskin
  • Carol C. Baskin
  • Zuoming Xiong
  • Jun Tao
Review

Abstract

Main conclusion

Most Paeonia species have epicotyl dormancy. Germination of peony seeds requires warm stratification for embryo growth and radicle protrusion followed by cold stratification for epicotyl growth.

The genus Paeonia (Paeoniaceae) includes many popular ornamentals, has colorful flowers and contains several Chinese medicinal species. The germination protocol for seeds of Paeonia species is complex and impedes the breeding of new cultivars and contributes to the rarity and high cost of the plants. Although numerous reports on seed dormancy/germination in peonies are scattered throughout the literature, most of them are in Chinese. The primary aims of this paper are to provide a general overview of the available information on seed dormancy/germination in peonies and to make some suggestions regarding propagation for the peony industry and breeders. Most Paeonia species have epicotyl dormancy. The embryo is differentiated into organs, but it is underdeveloped (small) and must grow inside the seed before the radicle can emerge. Germination of peony seeds requires warm stratification for embryo growth and radicle protrusion followed by cold stratification for epicotyl growth. In addition, the epicotyl is sensitive to cold stratification only after the root has grown to a certain length. GA3 treatment enhances embryo growth and subsequent germination percentages. Further investigations on the physiology, genetics and proteomics would contribute to a better understanding of seed dormancy in Paeonia.

Keywords

Cold stratification Endogenous plant hormones Epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy Paeonia Seed dormancy/germination Warm stratification 

Notes

Funding

This work was supported by the Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Horticultural Crop Genetic Improvement of P. R. China (2017023), the Three New Agricultural Program of Jiangsu Province of P. R. China (SXGC[2017]297) and the Priority Academic Program Development from Jiangsu Government.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Physiology, College of Horticulture and Plant ProtectionYangzhou UniversityYangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Plant and Soil SciencesUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  4. 4.Guangling CollegeYangzhou UniversityYangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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