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 with a pre-chill treatment.
Pennisetum clandestinum (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.
Germinate on agar, germination paper or sand, under alternating temperature regimes of 35/20ºC or 30/20ºC (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 may be Physiologically Dormant (based on other species in the same genus). If germination is low, use a moist pre-chill treatment 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 some Poaceae species. Empty seeds may have a normal seed coat but an absent or under-developed embryo, or limited storage tissue.
The seed (2.5 mm x 1.5 mm) is a caryopsis. The seed is oval in shape, pointed with a persistent short style.
The seeds are dark brown at maturity.
Accepted name: Pennisetum clandestinum Hochst. ex Chiov.
Synonyms: Pennisetum inclusum Pilg.
Common name: kikuyu grass
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.
- International Seed Testing Association (2010). International Rules for Seed Testing: edition 2010. ISTA, Bassersdorf, Switzerland.
- AFPD (African Flowering Plants Database) - Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de la Ville de Genève, Switzerland, and South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria, RSA: Pennisetum clandestinum.
- PROTAbase (Plant Resources of Tropical Africa) - Wageningen, Netherlands: Pennisetum clandestinum.
- SID (Seed Information Database) - Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, UK: Pennisetum clandestinum.
- Tropical Forages - CSIRO, DPI&F(Qld), CIAT and ILRI, Brisbane, Australia: Pennisetum clandestinum.
- Tropicos - Missouri Botanical Garden, USA: Pennisetum clandestinum.