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Rapid seed-based propagation method for the threatened African cherry (Prunus africana)

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Abstract

Studies on the germination characteristics of various seed groups, extent of seedling and wildling establishment, as well as measurements on early seedling growth, were conducted on Prunus africana (Hook. f.) Kalkm. (syn. Pygeum africanum Hook. f.) (Rosaceae). Germination of seeds gathered en masse (together with soil and litter) from beneath Prunus trees was significantly greater (P < 0.01) compared to those collected in pure form from the ground (with or without fruit flesh) or those picked from the trees. Treating seeds with 10 or 100 µmol gibberellic acid (GA3) showed better germination than the control, but the difference was not statistically significant. Gibberellic acid at 1000 µmol (10−3 M) inhibited germination significantly (P = 0.02). Seedlings survived better in the glasshouse (90%) than in the nursery (87%). Whereas 60% of the 280 wildlings between 2.5 and 4.0 cm successfully established, only 10% of the 220 wildlings between 8.0 and 13.0 cm survived 3 mo after these had been maintained in the glasshouse. Seedlings derived from the GA3-treated seeds showed higher initial growth than the control owing to rapid hypocotyl elongation. Transferring seedlings to larger pots enhanced growth significantly after a lag period of about two weeks. Seedlings maintained in the glasshouse grew better than those in the nursery (P < 0.01). The study found that germination of seeds/fruits (gathered en masse from beneath trees) on a seedbed is convenient, technically less demanding, and is cost-effective.

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Negash, L. Rapid seed-based propagation method for the threatened African cherry (Prunus africana). New Forests 27, 215–227 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:NEFO.0000022223.30521.e9

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