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Effect of Sulfuric Acid Treatment on Breaking of Seed Dormancy and Subsequent Seedling Establishment in Zanthoxylum armatum DC: An Endangered Medicinal Plant of the Himalayan Region


An attempt has been made to influence seed germination in Zanthoxylum armatum DC, a medicinally important plant that produces seeds with hard coat and low natural regeneration. Pretreatment of seeds with concentrated (98 %) or diluted (50 %) sulfuric acid (H2SO4) for various time periods (1, 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 min) and subsequent sowing in the soil (under polyhouse conditions) resulted in considerable improvement in germination as a result of some treatments. Treatment with diluted (50 %) H2SO4 (15 min) resulted in maximum germination (93.3 %) along with mean germination time (MGT) of 149.5 days. The other treatments (50 % H2SO4 for 5, 10, 20 and 25 min) also improved germination, but to a lesser extent (15–40 %) with MGT of 130–160 days. The values were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than the most effective treatment (50 % H2SO4, 15 min). No germination was recorded in other treatments including the untreated control. The growth of seedlings was monitored and showed rapid increase in height and leaf numbers with 100 % survival up to 2 years. The results clearly indicate a simple, inexpensive and convenient method of improving and obtaining uniform seed germination for nursery raising.

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The authors are thankful to the Director, G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, Kosi-Katarmal, Almora, for facilities; Ministry of Environment & Forests, Govt. of India, New Delhi and UCOST, Dehradun are thanked for financial assistance.

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Correspondence to S. K. Nandi or L. M. S. Palni.

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Purohit, S., Nandi, S.K., Palni, L.M.S. et al. Effect of Sulfuric Acid Treatment on Breaking of Seed Dormancy and Subsequent Seedling Establishment in Zanthoxylum armatum DC: An Endangered Medicinal Plant of the Himalayan Region. Natl. Acad. Sci. Lett. 38, 301–304 (2015).

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  • Endangered
  • Himalaya
  • Seed germination
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Zanthoxylum armatum