Journal Article

Cycling of Sensitivity to Physical Dormancy-break in Seeds of <i>Ipomoea lacunosa</i> (Convolvulaceae) and Ecological Significance

K. M. G. G. Jayasuriya, J. M. Baskin and C. C. Baskin

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 3, pages 341-352
Published in print February 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI:
Cycling of Sensitivity to Physical Dormancy-break in Seeds of Ipomoea lacunosa (Convolvulaceae) and Ecological Significance

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  • Ecology and Conservation
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Background and Aims

Although a claim has been made that dormancy cycling occurs in seeds of Ipomoea lacunosa (Convolvulaceae) with physical dormancy, this would seem to be impossible since the water gap cannot be closed again after it opens (dormancy break). On the other hand, changes in sensitivity (sensitive ↔ non-sensitive) to dormancy-breaking factors have been reported in seeds of Fabaceae with physical dormancy. The primary aim of the present study was to determine if sensitivity cycling also occurs in physically dormant seeds of I. lacunosa.


Treatments simulating conditions in the natural habitat of I. lacunosa were used to break seed dormancy. Storage of seeds at temperatures simulating those in spring, summer, autumn and winter were tested for their effect on sensitivity change. Seeds made non-dormant were stored dry in different temperature regimes to test for dormancy cycling. In addition, seeds collected on different dates (i.e. matured under different climatic conditions) were used to test for maternal effects on sensitivity to dormancy-breaking factors.

Key Results

Sensitivity was induced by storing seeds under wet conditions and reversed by storing them under dry conditions at low (≤5 °C) or high (≥30 °C) temperatures, demonstrating that seeds of I. lacunosa can cycle between sensitive and insensitive states. Sensitive seeds required ≥2 h at 35 °C on moist sand for release of dormancy. However, there is no evidence to support dormancy cycling per se. Conceptual models are proposed for sensitivity cycling and germination phenology of I. lacunosa in the field.


Seasonal germination behaviour of physically dormant I. lacunosa seeds can be explained by sensitivity cycling but not by dormancy cycling per se. Convolvulaceae is only the second of 16 families known to contain species with physical dormancy for which sensitivity cycling has been demonstrated.

Keywords: Convolvulaceae; germination phenology; Ipomoea; physical dormancy; sensitivity cycling

Journal Article.  6859 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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