Why are the seeds of this species difficult? Some species of the Cyperaceae family can produce a high proportion of empty seeds, which collectors and curators must take account of. The seeds may have physiological dormancy.
Fimbristylis littoralis (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
This species has Orthodox seeds - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.
Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand, under an alternating temperature regime of 35/20ºC (with an 8/16hr photoperiod). Perform a cut-test on any seeds that have not germinated, to check for empty seeds. All empty seeds are non-viable in germination tests.
The seeds of this species are expected to be Physiologically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). If germination is low, this type of seed dormancy can be overcome by mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat. Use a moist pre-chill or pre-heat treatment (depending on local climatic conditions) or a dry after-ripening treatment, before germinating the seeds on agar, germination paper or sand at their optimum temperature. If this does not work, you can perform delicate surgery to enable the embryo to grow. Excise the tissue near the root tip.
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
The production of empty seeds is common in non-domesticated species of the Cyperaceae. Empty seeds may have a normal seed coat but an absent or under-developed embryo, or limited storage tissue.
Accepted name: Fimbristylis littoralis Gaudich.
Synonyms: Fimbristylis miliacea (Thunb.) Vahl
References and Links
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
- Black, M., Bewley, J.D. and Halmer, P. (2006). The Encyclopaedia of Seeds: science, technology and uses. CAB International, UK.
- AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Fimbristylis littoralis.
- PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Fimbristylis littoralis.
- SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Fimbristylis littoralis.
- Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Fimbristylis littoralis.