Seed germination characteristics of Phillyrea angustifolia L. and P. latifolia L. (Oleaceae), two Mediterranean shrub species having lignified endocarp


  • Sara Mira Department of Plant Biology, School of Agronomics Engineering, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain
  • Luciana Veiga-Barbosa Department of General Biology, Federal University of Bahia, Salvador, Bahia, Brazil
  • Félix Pérez-García Department of Plant Biology, School of Agronomics Engineering, Technical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain



cold stratification, Phillyrea species, treatments before sowing, seed germination, seed scarification, lignified endocarp


The aim of this study was to determine the germination characteristics of Phillyrea angustifolia L. and P. latifolia L. seeds in order to develop an optimized propagation protocol for Phillyrea species. Seeds of P. angustifolia and P. latifolia were collected from wild plants growing in Cáceres province (CW Spain) and Andalucía (S Spain), respectively. Percentage of water uptake for P. latifolia seeds was calculated. Seeds with and without endocarp were germinated at different constant and alternating temperatures. Seeds without endocarp were soaked in distilled water or gibberellic acid, and then set to germinate. Seeds with endocarp of both species were stratified at 5 ºC for 30 or 90 days and then the endocarp was completely removed from the seeds before they were sowed. Chemical scarification with sulfuric acid and mechanical scarification were tested on P. angustifolia seeds with endocarp. Phillyrea endocarp was permeable to water, since Phillyrea seeds with endocarp imbibed water, but water uptake was faster when the endocarp was removed. Moreover, the encodarp could interfere mechanically in the emergence of the radicle, since seed germination of Phillyrea species was promoted by the complete removal of the lignified endocarp surrounding each seed. Optimal germination temperature for both species was 15 ºC, and lower temperatures produced secondary dormancy. Soaking in distilled water or gibberellic acid did not significantly enhance seed germination. Cold stratification and chemical scarification treatments were detrimental for seed germination.


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