Seed germination as a metric of invasive potential in winter-hardy Prunus.
Invasive species threaten the survival of native flora through the alteration of the structure and processes of natural communities. After species are introduced to a new location, seed germination is vital for the formation of diverse, self-sustaining populations. In this study we measured seed germination of a selection of winter-hardy Prunus fruit types of apricot, tart cherry, and plum genotypes. This experiment examined seed germination requirements parsed by fruit type, genotype within fruit type, environment, and scarification. Higher germination percentages were observed in the greenhouse compared to the field. Scarification was dependent on genotype within a fruit type and germination environment. From this study we concluded that most genotypes examined will not become invasive due to low and/or inconsistent germination. Apricots had high overall germination whereas tart cherries were lower. The plums had variable germination percentages but progeny from the plum genotypes 'Hazel', 'Whittaker', 'South Dakota', and 'Hennepin' had high germination, indicating the potential to become invasive.