Seed germination response of a noxious agricultural weed Echium plantagineum to temperature, light, pH, drought stress, salinity, heat and smoke.
Echium plantagineum is a significant pasture weed in the Mediterranean climatic zone of several countries, including Australia. This invasive weed, introduced as an ornamental into Australia (where it is known as Paterson's curse), quickly became established and is now a significant weed of agriculture. Although E. plantagineum is a well-established, highly competitive weed that thrives under disturbance and is tolerant of a wide variety of conditions, including varying soil moisture and drought, and some aspects of its ecology remain unknown. This study investigated germination response to temperature and light, pH, soil moisture, salinity, and pre-germination exposure of seed to heat and smoke. Temperature was found to be more influential on germination than light and the species is tolerant to a wide range of pH. However, available moisture may limit germination, as may elevated salinity. Management of this weed requires approaches that minimise soil seedbank input or prevent germination of soil seedbanks.