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 mimicking the seasonal patterns of the species' native habitat.
Leptothrium senegalense (Image: S. Wood, RBG Kew)
This species most probably has Orthodox seeds (based on other species in the same genus) - dry to 15-20% eRH and store at -20ºC, or as cool as possible.
Remove seed covering structures before placing under germination conditions. 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. It may be necessary to wash the seeds in 10% sodium hypochlorite solution for 5 mins before sowing, to prevent fungal contamination during germination. Add potassium nitrate to the germination medium if necessary, to encourage growth.
The seeds of this species may be Physiologically Dormant (based on members of the same family). If germination is low, overcome dormancy 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 occurrence of empty seeds is common in wild-collected accessions of some Poaceae species. Empty seeds may have a normal seed coat but an absent or under-developed embryo, or limited storage tissue.
Accepted name: Leptothrium senegalense (Kunth) Clayton
Synonyms: Latipes senegalensis Kunth, Latipes inermis Chiov.
References and Links
- 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.
- AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Leptothrium senegalense.
- PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Leptothrium senegalense.
- SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Leptothrium senegalense.
- Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Leptothrium senegalense.