Tropical Grasslands (2005) Volume 39, 124–128

Research note: Effect of different seed treatment options on dormancy breaking, germination and emergence of Ziziphus mucronata (buffalo thorn) seed


1Department of Plant Production and Soil Science, and
2Department of Animal and Wildlife Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa


The suitability of different pre-planting seed treatment options to break hard seed dormancy and enhance germination and/or emergence of Z. mucronata seeds was compared in 2 separate experiments. In the first experiment, the effects of scarification, immersion in boiling water for 1 or 5 minutes and treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid (94%) for periods of 10, 20, 30 or 45 minutes were evaluated in a petri dish experiment. In the second experiment, Ziziphus fruits were either soaked or un-soaked in water, prior to seed removal, and the seeds were treated with sandpaper, sulphuric acid or boiling water. Seedling emergence was measured in seedling trays in a glasshouse. Two acid concentrations (36 N and 94%) and 2 durations of immersion (10 and 20 minutes) were evaluated. In the first experiment, scarifying with sandpaper or treatment with concentrated sulphuric acid (94%) significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the level of hard seed. However, treatment with sulphuric acid for a minimum of 20 minutes also increased (P < 0.05) the amount of dead seed. In the second experiment, scarification with sandpaper or treatment with sulphuric acid (94%) for 10 or 20 minutes was most effective in breaking seed dormancy. Treatment with boiling water was ineffective in breaking dormancy in both experiments.

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