New Forests

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 269–279 | Cite as

Improving the collection and germination of West African Garcinia kola Heckel seeds

  • Juliana Agyili
  • Moctar Sacande
  • Edmond Koffi
  • Theresa Peprah
Original Paper


Garcinia kola is highly used as chew-stick for dental care in West Africa, but it is nearly commercially extinct in nature. To help find methods to increase rate and percentage of germination, we investigated its seed germination responses by using several collections and pre-treatments. Seeds processed from 6-week old green fruits did not germinate, whilst those of 10-week old partly-mature, at the intermediate stage through full development, germinated 46%. Seeds from orange mature fruits reached maximum 54–62% germination. Radicles emerged 6 weeks after sowing and normal germination with emergence of the primary single shoot growth occurred after 12 weeks. There was no significant difference (P ≥ 0.05) between germination responses of seeds from Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. Seeds did not germinate when dried to below ca. 30% MC. De-coating seeds or soaking intact seeds in a 70% ethanol solution increased germination to 82–92%, and also increased germination rate; however germination was not uniform. Because difficulties in germinating these seeds stem from the physical presence of the seed coats and the slow growth of the embryos contained therein, we recommend that fresh seeds from mature fruits be de-coated and immediately sown in preferably, an aerated medium (e.g., sawdust) for cultivation.


Garciniakola Seed collection Pre-treatments Desiccation Germination Cote d’Ivoire Ghana 


Garcinia kola Heckel est abondamment utilisée comme cure-dents pour l’hygiène dentaire en Afrique de l’ouest, mais elle est presque commercialement éteinte dans la nature. Pour aider à trouver des méthodes à même d’augmenter la vitesse et le pourcentage de germination, nous avons investigué les réponses à la germination de ses graines, en utilisant plusieurs collections et prétraitements. Les graines préparées des fruits verts de 6 semaines ne germent pas tandis que celles de 10 semaines, au stade intermédiaire de leur plein développement germent à 46%. Les graines issues de fruits mûrs orange atteignent un maximum de 54 à 62% de germination. Leur radicule émerge 6 semaines après semis et la germination normale avec la croissance du seul bourgeon primaire, se produit après 12 semaines. Il n’y avait pas de différence significative (P ≥ 0.05) entre les réponses à la germination des graines du Ghana et de la Cote d’Ivoire. Les graines ne germent pas lorsqu’elles sont déshydratées en dessous de 30% de teneur en eau. Le retrait des enveloppes tégumentaires ou le trempage des graines intactes dans une solution à 70% d’éthanol accroît la germination à 82–92%, et aussi améliore la durée de germination, quoique la germination demeure non uniforme. Parce que les difficultés à faire germer ces graines proviennent de la présence physique des enveloppes tégumentaires et de la croissance lente de leurs embryons, nous recommandons que des graines fraîches issues de fruits mûrs soient dépouillées de leurs enveloppes et semées immediatement dans un milieu aéré de préférence (ex. sciure) pour leur culture.



We thank Dr Kyereh Boateng and other colleagues at FORIG (Kumasi, Ghana) and at CNRA (Abidjan Cote d’Ivoire) for advice and technical assistance; and Dr Hugh Pritchard for his comments and helpful discussions on this work. We acknowledge the financial support from Ghana Government and the Darwin Initiative (DEFRA), UK. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew receives grant-aided support from Defra, UK.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Juliana Agyili
    • 1
  • Moctar Sacande
    • 2
  • Edmond Koffi
    • 3
  • Theresa Peprah
    • 1
  1. 1.Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) KNUSTKumasiGhana
  2. 2.Seed Conservation DepartmentRoyal Botanic Gardens, KewHaywards Heath, West SussexUK
  3. 3.Centre National de Recherche Agronomique (CNRA)AbidjanIvory Coast

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