, Volume 27, Issue 6, pp 1633–1645 | Cite as

Seed structure, germination, and reserve mobilization in Butia capitata (Arecaceae)

  • N. C. C. Oliveira
  • P. S. N. Lopes
  • L. M. Ribeiro
  • M. O. Mercandante-Simões
  • L. A. A. Oliveira
  • F. O. Silvério
Original Paper


Butia capitata is a palm tree endemic to the Cerrado biome of Brazil and has significant potential for ornamental and food uses. In this work, we characterized the structures of the seeds and seedlings of this species to identify anatomical aspects related to its pronounced dormancy and determine the processes involved in reserve mobilization. Intact seeds, and seeds from which the operculum had been removed, were allowed to germinate and their morphology, physiology, anatomy, and histochemistry, together with those of the seedlings, were followed for 30 days. The seed coat was found to be rich in phenolic compounds and not lignified. The endosperm contains abundant protein and lipidic reserves, and the embryo has additional starch reserves. Germination occurred only in seeds with their opercula removed and involved the elongation of the cotyledon cells and meristematic activity in the “M zone” located between the embryonic axis and the proximal extremity of the embryo. The mobilization of embryonic reserves initiates during the first phase of imbibition, while the mobilization of endosperm reserves represents a post-germination event associated with the formation of a secretory epidermis and aerenchyma and the vascularization of the haustorium. Seeds with intact opercula did not germinate, but demonstrated embryonic reserve mobilization and cell elongation, indicating that dormancy in B. capitata is related to the incapacity of the embryo to dislocate the operculum.


Dormancy Seed anatomy Operculum Cotyledonary petiole Haustorium Palms 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. C. C. Oliveira
    • 1
  • P. S. N. Lopes
    • 1
  • L. M. Ribeiro
    • 2
  • M. O. Mercandante-Simões
    • 2
  • L. A. A. Oliveira
    • 1
  • F. O. Silvério
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratório de Propagação de Plantas, Instituto de Ciências AgráriasUniversidade Federal de Minas GeraisMontes ClarosBrazil
  2. 2.Laboratório de Micropropagação e Laboratório de Anatomia Vegetal, Departamento de Biologia GeralUnimontesMontes ClarosBrazil

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