Seed dormancy of Cardiospermum halicacabum (Sapindaceae) from three precipitation zones in Sri Lanka.
This study investigated seed germination of Cardiospermum halicacabum, a medicinally important invasive species. We compared mass, moisture content (MC), dormancy and dormancy-breaking treatments and imbibition and germination of scarified and non-scarified seeds of C. halicacabum from a low-elevation dry zone (DZ), low-elevation wet zone (WZ1) and mid-elevation wet zone (WZ2) in Sri Lanka to test the hypothesis that the percentage of seeds with water-impermeable seed coats (physical dormancy, PY) decreases with increased precipitation. Seed mass was higher in WZ2 than in DZ and WZ1, while seed MC did not vary among the zones. All scarified DZ, WZ1 and WZ2 and non-scarified DZ and WZ1 seeds imbibed water, but only a few non-scarified WZ2 seeds did so. When DZ and WZ1 seeds were desiccated, MC and percentage imbibition decreased, showing that these seeds have the ability to develop PY. GA3 promoted germination of embryos excised from fresh DZ and WZ1 seeds and of scarified WZ2 seeds. At maturity, seeds from DZ and WZ1 had only physiological dormancy (PD), while those from WZ2 had combinational dormancy (PY+PD). Thus, our hypothesis was not supported. Since a high percentage of excised embryos developed into normal seedlings; this is a low-cost method to produce C. halicacabum plants for medicinal and ornamental purposes.