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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

Seed germination under water stress, and seedling growth immediately after germination, have been investigated in a series of experiments. In the majority of species used in these experiments it was found that seedling growth immediately after germination could proceed at water potentials lower than those that permitted germination. This differential sensitivity to water stress could be reduced (i.e., the water potential of seed germination made more negative) by growth regulators and was completely removed by a combination of ethrel and kinetin in two of the species investigated, red clover and lucerne. Evidence suggests that the initiation of cell elongation is the process in germination most sensitive to water stress, and the work with growth regulators confirms that there are different effects on the initiation of germination and on subsequent growth. Differential sensitivity to moisture stress is suggested as a form of dormancy and we speculate on possible mechanisms that govern its control.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland ; 2: Scottish Horticultural Research Institute


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