Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Seed size dimorphism in Hyptis suaveolens aids in differentiation of the germination niche.

Abstract

Seed germination characteristics help predict the degree of invasive success of a species based on capacity of the seeds to germinate and recruit into novel habitats. Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit. (Bush mint, Pignut; Lamiaceae) is an invasive plant that is spreading throughout tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. We conducted a study to understand the role of seed size dimorphism in differentiation of germination niche in H. suaveolens. We subjected small and large seeds to varying environmental conditions of temperature (°C), photoperiod (light/dark), salt (NaCl; mM), pH, osmotic potential (MPa), different soil types and ratios (clay:sand) and burial depth (cm). Different germination indices were calculated and their interaction with seed dimorphism studied. There was a significant interaction (P < 0.001) between germination indices and seed dimorphism throughout the treatments. Large seeds had higher germination percentage and rate, indicating higher germination capacity. In addition, these displayed more asynchronous germination under various environments. Small seeds, on the other hand, required a longer germination time as compared to large seeds, indicating slower germination. Differential responses of the two seed morphs to varying environmental conditions, therefore, help H. suaveolens to differentiate its germination niche and establish in heterogeneous environments. These findings will help in devising appropriate management and eradication strategies based on germination ecology of seeds.