Resource Details

Patterns of seed longevity and germination in the tropical rainforest

Literature: Journal Articles

Vazquez-Yanes, C. & Orozco-Segovia, A. 1993, "Patterns of seed longevity and germination in the tropical rainforest", Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, vol. 24, pp. 69-87.

Affiliations

Centro de Ecologia, UNAM. Apartado 70-275, Ciudad Universitaria, 04510, Mexico

Link(s)

Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics

Selecting the link above redirects this page to the article on the journal website where the online material can be purchased or accessed if with subscription. For more information on access, see sidebar.

Species Info

  • Heliocarpus donnell-smithii
  • Ochroma lagopus (balsa)
  • Acacia spp.
  • Trema spp.
  • Piper spp.
  • Cecropia spp. 
  • Cedrela odorata (cedar)
  • Swietenia macrophylla (mahogany)
  • Brosimum alicastrum

Description

  • This article reviews the factors that affect seed longevity and germination in tropical trees.
  • Seed dormancy varies greatly among tropical trees: Ochroma lagopus (balsa) can remain viable 44 years, while Acacia, Trema, Piper, andCecropia can remain dormant for only a year.  
  • Many seeds have high water content and can germinate quickly (but at the expense of drought tolerance).
  • Cedrela odorata (cedar) and Swietenia macrophylla (mahogany) are wind dispersed seeds with low moisture content, so they often germinate at the beginning of the rainy season.  
  • In Mexico, experiments that artificially irrigated forest soil before the onset of the rainy season induced germination of C. odorata and Brosimum alicastrum
  • Another characteristic is delayed germination (unrelated to moisture balance), where seeds delay more than 20 weeks to germinate (but there can be a lot of variability among one species)
  • Seed coat is a strong determinant of dormancy period and germination - nursery seeds placed in manure can speed germination (because of the heat).  
  • Heat can remove the seed coat, allow water inside, and induce germination: Ochroma lagopus seeds can remain dormant for several years until heat (from a low intensity fire or from canopy opening) induces germination
  • Heliocarpus donnell-smithii in Mexico requires > 10° C daily temperature fluctuation for germination (ie, a tree-fall gap)
  • Germination can also be regulated by light intensity (multiple examples)
  • Litter is also an important factor for germination but has not been studied extensively

Geographical Region

  • General
  • Country

  • General
  • This database is a work in progress, and we need your input to keep it up to date. Feel free to contact ELTI at elti@yale.edu to provide information on your own work as well as other projects and literature currently missing from the database.

     

    ELTI is a joint initiative of:
    Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute