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. Wild-growing sub-species may produce a high proportion of empty seeds, which collectors and curators must take account of.
Hordeum vulgare (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 at 20ºC. 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 may have Physiological Dormancy. If germination is low, overcome dormancy using a moist pre-chill (5-10ºC) or pre-heat (30-35ºC) treatment (depending on local climatic conditions), before germinating the seeds at their optimum temperature.
(Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
The occurrence of empty seeds is common in wild-collected accessions of this species. Empty seeds may have a normal seed coat but an absent or under-developed embryo, or limited storage tissue.
The fruit is a caryopsis. The lemma and palea are usually invested.
See other images of this species at the Digital Seed Atlas of the Netherlands.
Accepted name: Hordeum vulgare L.
Synonyms: Hordeum deficiens Steud. ex A.Braun, Hordeum tertrastichum Körn.
Common name: barley
References and Links
- Baskin, C.C. and Baskin J.M. (1998). Seeds: ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy and germination. Academic Press, USA.
- Black, M., Bewley, J.D. and Halmer, P. (2006). The Encyclopaedia of Seeds: science, technology and uses. CAB International, UK.
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and International Plant Genetic Resources Institute (1994). Genebank Standards. FAO/IPGRI, Rome, Italy.
- International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
- Purseglove, J.W. (1985). Tropical Crops: monocotyledons. Longman Group Ltd., UK.
- Rao, N.K., Hanson, J., Dulloo, M.E., Ghosh, K., Nowell, D. and Larinde, M. (2006). Manual of seed handling in genebanks. Handbooks for Genebanks No. 8. Bioversity International, Rome, Italy.
- AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Hordeum vulgare.
- PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Hordeum vulgare.
- SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Hordeum vulgare.
- Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Hordeum vulgare.