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Difficult seed profiles

These species were identified by participants at Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds Project workshops as showing poor germination during initial testing and/or during re-tests after storage. Low germination may be due to inherent issues such as seed storage behaviour, dormancy or seed longevity, or handling and storage difficulties.

To share information on 'difficult' seeds and send your images to improve our resource, email us at difficultseeds@kew.org.

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Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physical dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate. The testa can be softened so that the seeds will imbibe water.

Abelmoschus esculentus seeds

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physical dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate. The seeds can be scarified so that they imbibe water.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds have physical dormancy, which has to be overcome before they will germinate. The testa can be chipped with a scalpel or softened with sulphuric acid so that the seeds can imbibe water.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may be physically dormant. The thick seed coat can be chipped so that the seeds will imbibe water.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate. The seeds are relatively short-lived, so may not remain viable for a long time in storage.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Some species of the Poaceae family can produce a high proportion of empty seeds, which collectors and curators must take account of. The seeds may have physiological dormancy.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Some sub-species have seeds with physiological dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate. The seeds are relatively short-lived, so may not remain viable for a long time in storage.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Some species of the Poaceae family can produce a high proportion of empty seeds, which collectors and curators must take account of. The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by exposing them to a pre-chill treatment before they are sown.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? This species has recalcitrant seeds, which have a high critical moisture content and will rapidly lose viability if they are dried. The seeds also have physiological dormancy, which must be overcome before they will germinate.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds of this species are likely to have orthodox storage behaviour, so should not present any inherent storage problems. However, they should be handled carefully when drying and during rehydration for germination, to avoid losing viability.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have both physical and physiological dormancy. For germination to occur, both types of dormancy may need to be broken.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds have uncertain storage behaviour, but seem to be sensitive to desiccation.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds present no inherent problems in storage or germination. However, if they have not been properly dried and stored under optimal conditions, storage life and viability will be reduced.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physiological dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate. The seeds are also relatively short-lived, so may not remain viable for a long time in storage.

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