Propagation of Ornamental Plants
11(2): 91-95, 2011
LONGEVITY OF SHINYBARK BIRCH (BETULA LUMINIFERA H. WINKL.) SEEDS IN RELATION TO MATERNAL FAMILIES AND STORAGE CONDITIONS
College of Forest Resources and Environment, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing, 210037 China, Fax: + 86 25 85427402, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Betula luminifera seeds were found to have an orthodox seed storage behavior, but showed shorter longevity (less than 3 months) when stored in unsealed containers at ambient temperatures. In order to sow the seeds in the next spring, the effects of different maternal families (large size: No. 3, medium size: No. 20, small size: No. 22), seed moisture content (MC: 9.1%, 5.0-6.0%, and 3.5%) and storage temperatures (room temperature (RT), 15°C and 5°C) on seed longevity were investigated. The results showed that of 3 maternal families, seed lot from family No. 3 had the shortest storability either at RT or 15°C, while the other two families expressed the similar storability both at RT and 15°C. A significant difference in both seed longevity and half-life period was observed among 3 maternal families (p < 0.01). Within the MC ranges studied at RT, the seed lots with 3.5% demonstrated better storability than the seed lots with 5.0-6.0% and 9.1%, and the half-life period of seeds with either 9.1% or 5.0-6.0% was 13-14 months, while high seed germination of all MC treatments was maintained throughout storage period at 0-5°C and 15°C. The results suggested that seeds of medium and small size have longer longevity. The best conditions to keep seed viability in practice is to hermetically store the seeds with 9-10% MC at 15°C for 2 years. Alternatively, 3.5% MC combined with hermetic storage at a range of temperatures (from 0°C to RT) can be used for medium-term storage.
Key words: Betula luminifera, seed longevity, seed storage, viability equation