Knowledge of the germination behavior of different populations of a species can be useful in the selection of appropriate seed sources for restoration. The aim of this study was to test the effect of seed population, collection year, after-ripening and incubation conditions on seed dormancy and germination of Stipa bungeana, a perennial grass used for revegetation of degraded grasslands on the Loess Plateau, China. Fresh S. bungeana seeds were collected from eight locally-adapted populations in 2015 and 2016. Dormancy and germination characteristics of fresh and 6-month-old dry-stored seeds were determined by incubating them over a range of alternating temperature regimes in light. Effect of water stress on germination was tested for fresh and 6-month-old dry-stored seeds. Seed dormancy and germination of S. bungeana differed with population and collection year. Six months of dry storage broke seed dormancy, broadened the temperature range for germination and increased among-population differences in germination percentage. The rank order of germination was not consistent in all germination tests, and it varied among populations. Thus, studies on comparing seed dormancy and germination among populations must consider year of collection, seed dormancy states and germination test conditions when selecting seeds for grassland restoration and management.

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Published in Scientific Reports, v. 7, article no. 13893, p. 1-11.

© The Author(s) 2017

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This work was supported by the Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT13019), the National Natural Science Fund (31672473), the Programme of Introducing Talents of Discipline to Universities (B12002) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (lzujbky-2016-11, lzujbky-2017-it12).

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Supplementary information accompanies this paper at https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-14267-2.

41598_2017_14267_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (166 kB)
Supplementary Information