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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? 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 performing delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow.

Kew's 'Difficult' Seeds project has put together a series of species profile pages for species identified by workshop participants as possessing seeds that are difficult to handle, store or germinate. The terms and the methods referred to in the species profile pages are explained below.

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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 can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

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.

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.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds have an uncertain storage behaviour. They may lose viability through drying and cooling. The seeds may also have physiological dormancy, which can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.

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 physical dormancy, which can be overcome by scarifying the seed coat to allow water uptake and encourage germination.

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 morphological dormancy, which would have to be overcome before they will germinate.

We were not able to find information on all of the species identified as having 'difficult' seeds. If you have any information on the handling, storage or germination of these species, please fill in the form to share information with us and help to overcome these difficulties.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? The seeds may have physical dormancy, which can be overcome by scarifying the seed coat to allow water uptake and encourage germination.

Send us an image of this species

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? This species 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 with a pre-chill treatment. The storage behaviour of this species in unknown.

Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Germination is aided by removing the covering structures of the seed and chipping the seed coat. 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 physical dormancy, which can be overcome by scarifying the seed coat to allow water uptake and encourage germination.

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.

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.

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