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Seed Germination

Seed Germination

Seed Germination

Scarification is a technique used to help certain seeds germinate. Some seeds have tough outer coatings that need to be weakened or removed for germination to occur. Methods include physically scratching or nicking the seed coat, soaking seeds in hot water, treating seeds with acid (caution required), or exposing seeds to cold temperatures for a period. Each method suits different seed types, and it's essential to follow the specific guidelines on our seed packets. Scarification can improve germination rates for these seeds, aiding gardeners and horticulturists.

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Stratification is a technique used for certain seeds that require it to break dormancy and promote germination. It involves placing seeds in a moist medium and exposing them to cold temperatures, mimicking winter conditions. This process helps seeds germinate more reliably when planted in suitable conditions afterward. Stratification is particularly useful for seeds from plants that naturally experience cold winters.


Light is essential for seed germination, but its importance varies between plant species. Some seeds, called photoblastic seeds, require light to trigger germination and determine their depth in the soil. This helps them access light for photosynthesis quickly. In contrast, non-photoblastic seeds can germinate in darkness or low light. Light-dependent germination is an adaptation to a plant's environment, allowing it to avoid competition, optimize growth conditions, and thrive in its specific habitat. Understanding a seed's light requirements is crucial for successful cultivation.

Smoke Priming

Smoke priming is a horticultural technique used for seeds from plants adapted to fire-prone ecosystems. These seeds require exposure to specific chemicals found in wildfire smoke to break dormancy and initiate germination. Smoke-derived compounds trigger germination pathways in these seeds, mimicking natural fire conditions. This method is crucial for propagating native plants in fire-prone regions, aiding conservation and ecological restoration efforts.


Seed desiccation is the process of deliberately drying seeds to a specific moisture content level. It is a crucial step in seed harvesting and preservation.

What is its Purpose. The main purpose of seed desiccation is to reduce the moisture content within seeds to a level that prevents them from deteriorating during storage. Seeds contain living tissues, and excess moisture can lead to fungal or bacterial growth and reduce seed viability. 

Methods Seed desiccation is achieved by exposing seeds to conditions that promote moisture removal. Common methods include air drying, heated air drying, or using desiccants like silica gel. These methods help maintain seed quality and ensure seeds can be stored for extended periods.

What is its Importance. Properly desiccated seeds can remain viable for a long time, preserving genetic diversity and facilitating agricultural practices, horticulture, and conservation efforts.

In summary, seed desiccation is the intentional drying of seeds to an appropriate moisture content level, a crucial step in preserving their viability during storage and ensuring their long-term usability.


Orthodox seeds can be dried, without damage, to low moisture contents, usually much lower than those they would normally achieve in nature. Over a wide range of storage environments their longevity increases with reductions in both moisture content and temperature, in a quantifiable and predictable way.


Intermediate seeds are more tolerant of desiccation than recalcitrants, though that tolerance is much more limited than is the case with orthodox seeds, and they generally lose viability more rapidly at low temperature. They do not conform to all the criteria defining orthodox seeds, especially in respect of the quantification and predictability of the relations between longevity and both drying and cooling.

Recalcitrant seeds do not survive drying to any large degree, and are thus not amenable to long term storage, although the critical moisture level for survival varies among species. In this database this category includes those seeds, of some aquatic species in particular, described as viviparous.

Seed Storage
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