Light-sensitive features of seed germination in the invasive species Ageratina adenophora (syn. Eupatoriumadenophorum) in China.
Ageratina adenophora (Crofton weed) is a noxious invasive plant in several countries and its germination features favor its invasiveness. The aim of this study was to characterize the light-sensitive seed germination of this weed. Two to five-fold higher germination was observed under light conditions than under dark conditions. Dormancy-breaking methods of low temperature pre-treatment, pre-soaking with KNO3 solution, polyethylene glycol, and salicylic acid did not influence germination under either light or dark conditions. Very low light (39 µmol.m-2.s-1, 25% light transmittance) tripled seed germination from 22.3 to 66.7%, when compared to no light. Germination under violet, blue and green glass papers was significantly lower than that under yellow, orange, and red ones. Significant correlations between red-light intensity, red/far-red ratio and germination indicated that these 2 types of light may be responsible for the germination differences. Experiments under narrow band filters also proved this; red light at 630 nm could induce germination, while far-red light 740 nm could prevent germination. Thus, red/far-red light was effective in the photoblastic germination of Crofton weed, while other treatments could not replace light during germination. This photoblastic germination could favor the fast colonization of this weed when the seeds in deep soil approach the surface.