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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


JARA, Paola A; ARANCIO, Gina; MORENO, Raúl  and  CARMONA, Martín R. Abiotic factors effects influencing the germination of six herbaceous species of Chilean arid zone. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2006, vol.79, n.3, pp.309-319. ISSN 0716-078X.

The arid zone of northern Chile has a dry climate that prevents the massive emergency of plant species. The exception to this general trend arises when scarce and irregular rainfall events occur, modify the environmental humidity, and stimulate the germination of seeds. The main external factors that modify the internal nature of the seeds are the hydration time, light, temperature and scarification. In this work two questions were addressed: (a) is the germination of seeds of arid zones regulated by independent external factors or by a combined array of stimuli? and (b) do exist correspondence between laboratory and in situ germinative conditions?. Seeds of six native and endemic herbaceous species of the north of Chile (Cistanthe salsoloides, Leucocoryne purpurea, Pasithea coerulea, Placea amoena, Schizanthus litoralis y Trichopetalum plumosum) were subjected to two germination experiments, with factorial combinations of hydration time, temperature, light, dehydration and scarification. Schizanthus litoralis, was subjected to an aditional scarification-dehydration experiment (experiment 3). Results showed a common response of all the species in study to certain external factors. Maximum germination percentages were reached when exceeding a threshold of 96 h of hydration and at temperatures of 10 to 25 ºC. Light response was species-dependent. Agreement was found between the germinative conditions determined in laboratory and natural conditions of germination. Therefore, the seeds of plant species of arid zones display similar germinative thresholds and the techniques of germination in laboratory must be determined by the environmental characteristics of the place of origin and the time of natural germination

Keywords : germination; hydration; temperature; light; arid zones.

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