Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Seed germination response of a potential rangeland weed Psilocaulon granulicaule to selected environmental conditions.

Abstract

Studies show that just over 620 non-native naturalised plant species have been recorded within the Australian rangelands, some of which have a capacity to cause significant impacts on rangeland flora and grazing activity. Although Psilocaulon granulicaule (Haw.), Schwantes is listed as a highly invasive environmental weed species, there has been no previous research into its seed ecology. Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the effects of temperature, light, pH, water stress, heat-shock, and salinity on the germination of P. granulicaule. In this study, four temperature regimes covering four different day and night temperature variations (17-7°C, 25-15°C, 30-25°C and 40-30°C) and two light regimes (12-h light-12-h dark, 24-h dark) were investigated. The effects of pH, water stress, heat-shock and salinity were investigated, using pH buffers, polyethylene glycol solutions, three heat shock events under four temperatures and a range of NaCl solutions. These tests were conducted under the identified optimum temperature range (25/15°C) and light regime for seed germination. The results showed that both temperature and photoperiod significantly influenced the germination rate, with 94.2% germination in the 25-15°C range under a 12-h light-12-h dark regime. Higher temperatures (30-40°C) reduced seed germination to <58% germination in both light regimes (57.5%, 12-h light-12-h dark; 54.17%, 24-h dark). The highest germination rates were observed in low pH solutions, high moisture levels, low heat-shocks and low salinity. The study showed that this species is sensitive to environmental factors such as temperature, light, pH, moisture, heat shock and salinity, suggesting that these factors can be used as critical indicators to guide effective management practices to address this weed problem. Given that seeds are sensitive to radiant heat, burning could be used as a tool to effectively manage this species.