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Soil Groups: 8 Major Soil Groups available in India

by Negi Mohita Soil

Some of the major soil groups available in India are: 1. Alluvial Soils 2. Black Soils 3. Red Soils 4. Laterite and
Lateritic Soils 5. Forest and Mountain Soils 6. Arid and Desert Soils 7. Saline and Alkaline Soils 8. Peaty and Marshy
India is a country of vast dimensions with varied conditions of geology, relief, climate and vegetation. Therefore, India has a
large variety of soil groups, distinctly different from one another. Different criteria have been applied to classify Indian soils,
the outstanding being geology, relief, fertility, chemical composition and physical structure, etc.

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Any classification based on any one of the aforesaid criteria has its own inherent drawback. Even the most competent
pedologist would find it difficult to present an accurate, complete, comprehensive and generalised account of the Indian
During the British rule in India, a vast body of fascinating accounts had emerged in district gazetteers and official reports.
These accounts were generally directed towards the assessment of differential soil fertility and land revenue collection, but
did not attempt classification of soil types in the country.
The earlier studies of Indian soils were made by foreign scholars like Volckar (1893), Leather (1898), Schokalskaya (1932),
Champion (1936), etc. Indian scholars including Wadia (1935), Basu (1937), Vishwanath and Ukil (1944), Chatterjee,
Krishnan, Roychaudhary (1954) made strenuous efforts to classify soils of India.
In 1957, The National Atlas Organisation (Kolkata) published a soil map of India in which Indian soils were classified into 6
major groups and 11 broad types. The Irrigation Atlas of India (1972) and Spates India, Pakistan and Ceylon (1976) utilised
the 7th approximation soil classification developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The 7th approximation
defines soil classes strictly in terms of their morphology and composition as produced by a set of natural and human forces.
The classification is determined by quantifiable criteria.
Geologically, Indian soils can broadly be divided into two main types: (a) Soils of peninsular India and (b) Soils of extrapeninsular India.
The soils of Peninsular India are those which have been formed by the deomposition of rocks in situ, i.e. directly from the
underlying rocks. They are transported and redeposited to a limited extent and are known as sedentary soils.
On the other hand, the soils of the Extra-Peninsula are formed due to the depositional work of rivers and wind. They are
mainly found in the river valleys and deltas. They are very deep and constitute some of the most fertile tracts of the country.
They are often referred to as transported or azonal soils.
The Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) set up an All India Soil Survey Committee in 1953 which divided the
Indian soils into eight major groups. They are (1) Alluvial soils, (2) Black soils, (3) Red soils, (4) Laterite and Lateritic soils,
(5) Forest and Mountain soils, (6) Arid and Desert soils, (7) Saline and Alkaline soils and (8) Peaty and Marshy soils (See
Fig. 7.1). This is a very logical classification of Indian soils and has gained wide acceptance. A brief account of these eight
soils is given as under:

1. Alluvial Soils:
Alluvial soils are by far the largest and the most important soil group of India. Covering about 15 lakh sq km or about 45.6
per cent of the total land area of the country, these soils contribute the largest share of our agricultural wealth and support
the bulk of Indias population.

Most of the alluvial soils are derived from the sediments deposited by rivers as in the Indo-Gangetic plain although some
alluvial soils in the coastal areas have been formed by the sea waves. Thus the parent material of these soils is all of
transported origin.

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The streams bring with them the products of weathering of rocks from the mountains and deposit them in the low-lying
areas. The alluvial soils are yet immature and have weak profiles. They differ in consistency from drift sand to rich loams and
from silts to stiff clays. A few occasional kankar beds are also present.

However, pebbly, stony or gravelly soils are rare in this group. The chemical composition of the alluvial soils makes this
group of soils as one of the most fertile in the world. The proportion of nitrogen is generally low, but potash, phosphoric acid
and alkalies are adequate, while iron oxide and lime vary within a wide range. The porosity and texture provide good
drainage and other conditions favourable for bumper crops. These soils are easily replenished by the recurrent river floods
and support uninterruped crop growth.
The widest occurrence of the alluvial soils is in the Great Indo-Gangetic Plain starting from Punjab in the west to West
Bengal and Assam in the east. They also occur in deltas of the Mahanadi, the Godavari, the Krishna and the Cauvery, where
they are called deltaic alluvium. Along the coast they are known as coastal alluvium. Some alluvial soils are found in the
Narmada and Tapi valleys. Northern parts of Gujarat also have some cover of alluvial soils.
Geologically, the alluvium of the Great plain of India is divided into newer or younger khadar and older bhangar soils. The
khadar soils are found in the low areas of valley bottom which are flooded almost every year.
They are pale brown, sandy clays and loams, more dry and leached, less calcareous and carbonaceous i.e. they are less
kankary. Bhangar, on the other hand, is found on the higher reaches about 30 metres above the flood level. It is of a more
clayey composition and is generally dark coloured. A few metres below the surface of the bhangar are beds of lime nodules
known as kankar.
Along the Shiwalik foothills, there are alluvial fans having coarse, often pebbly soils. This zone is called bhabar. To the south
of the bhabar is a long narrow strip of swampy lowland with silty soils. It covers an area of 56,600 sq km and is called tarai.
The tarai soils are rich in nitrogen and organic matter but are deficient in phosphate. These soils are generally covered by
tall grasses and forests but are suitable for a number of crops such as wheat, rice, sugarcane, jute and soyabean under
reclaimed conditions.

Due to their softness of the strata and fertility the alluvial soils are best suited to irrigation and respond well to canal and
well/tube-well irrigation. When properly irrigated, the alluvial soils yield splendid crops of rice, wheat, sugarcane, tobacco,
cotton, jute, maize, oilseeds, vegetables and fruits.

2. Black Soils:
The black soils are also called regur (from the Telugu word Reguda) and black cotton soils because cotton is the most
important crop grown on these soils. Several theories have been put forward regarding the origin of this group of soils but

most pedologists believe that these soils have been formed due to the solidifaction of lava spread over large areas during
volcanic activity in the Deccan Plateau, thousands of years ago.

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Most of the black soils are derived from two types of rocks, the Deccan and the Rajmahal trap, and ferruginous gneisses
and schists occurring in Tamil Nadu. The former are sufficiently deep while the later are generally shallow.
Krebs holds that the regur is essentially a mature soil which has been produced by relief and climate, rather than by a
particular type of rock. According to him, this soil occurs where the annual rainfall is between 50 to 80 cm and the number of

rainy days range from 30 to 50. The occurrence of this soil in the west deccan where the rainfall is about 100 cm and the
number of rainy days more than 50, is considered by him to be an exception.
In some parts of Gujarat and Tamil Nadu, the origin of black cotton soils is ascribed to old lagoons in which the rivers
deposited the materials brought down from the interior of Peninsula covered with lava.
Geographically, black soils are spread over 5.46 lakh sq km (i.e. 16.6 per cent of the total geographical area of the country)
encompassed between 15N to 25N latitudes and 72E to 82E longitudes. This is the region of high temperature and low
rainfall. It is, therefore, a soil group of the dry and hot regions of the Peninsula. These soils are mainly found in Maharashtra,
Madhya Pradesh, parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu.
The black colour of these soils has been attributed by some scientists to the presence of a small proportion of titaniferous
magnetite or even to iron and black constituents of the parent rock. The black colour of this soil may even be derived from
crystalline schists and basic gneisses such as in Tamil Nadu and parts of Andhra Pradesh. Various tints of the black colour
such as deep black, medium black, shallow black or even a mixture of red and black may be found in this group of soils.
The black soil is very retentive of moisture. It swells greatly and becomes sticky when wet in rainy season. Under such
conditions, it is almost impossible to work on such soil because the plough gets stuck in the mud.
However, in the hot dry season, the moisture evaporates, the soil shrinks and is seamed with broad and deep cracks, often
10 to 15 cm wide and upto a metre deep. This permits oxygenation of the soil to sufficient depths and the soil has
extraordinary fertility.
Remarkably selfploughed by loosened particles fallen from the ground into the cracks, the soil swallows itself and retains
soil moisture. This soil has been used for growing a variety of crops for centuries without adding fertilizers and manures, or
even fallowing with little or no evidence of exhaustion.
A typical black soil is highly argillaceous with a large clay factor, 62 per cent or more, without gravel or coarse sand. It also
contains 10 per cent of alumina, 9-10 per cent of iron oxide and 6-8 percent of lime and magnesium carbonates. Potash is
variable (less than 0.5 per cent) and phosphates, nitrogen and humus are low. The structure is cloddish but occasionally
In all regur soils in general, and in those derived from ferromagnesian schists in particular, there is a layer rich in kankar
nodules formed by segregation of calcium carbonate at lower depths. As a general rule, black soils of uplands are of low
fertility but they are darker, deeper and richer in the valleys.
Because of their high fertility and retentivity of moisture, the black soils are widely used for producing several important
crops. Some of the major crops grown on the black soils are cotton, wheat, jowar, linseed, Virginia tobacco, castor,
sunflower and millets. Rice and sugarcane are equally important where irrigation facilities are available. Large varieties of
vegetables and fruits are also successfully grown on the black soils. soil

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This comprehensive term designates the largest soil group of India, comprising several minor types. Most of the red soils
have come into existence due to weathering of ancient crystalline and metamorphic rocks.

The main parent rocks are acid granites and gneisses, quartzitic and felspathic. The colour of these soils is generally red,
often grading into brown, chocolate, yellow, grey or even black. The red colour is due more to the wide diffusion rather than
to high percentage of iron content.
The red soils occupy a vast area of about 3.5 lakh sq km which is about 10.6 per cent of the total geographical area of the
country. These soils are spread on almost the whole of Tamil Nadu, parts of Karnataka, south-east of Maharashtra, eastern
parts of Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Chota Nagpur in Jharkhand.
In the north the red soil area extends in large parts of south Bihar; the Birbhum and Bankura districts of West Bengal;
Mirzapur, Jhansi, Banda and Hamirpur districts of Uttar Pradesh; Aravallis and the eastern half of Rajasthan, parts of Assam,
Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura and Meghalaya.
By and large, the red soils are poor in lime, magnesia, phosphates, nitrogen and humus, but are fairly rich in potash. In their
chemical composition they are mainly siliceous and aluminous; with free quartz as sand the alkali content is fair, some parts
being quite rich in potassium.
The texture of these soils varies from sand to clay, the majority being loams. On the uplands, the red soils are thin, poor and
gravelly, sandy or stoney and porous, but in the lower areas they are rich, deep dark and fertile.
The red soils respond well to the proper use of fertilizers and irrigation and give excellent yields of cotton, wheat, rice,
pulses, millets, tobacco, oil seeds, potatoes and fruits.

4. Laterite and Lateritic Soils:

The word laterite (from Latin letter meaning brick) was first applied by Buchanan in 1810 to a clayey rock, hardening on
exposure, observed in Malabar. But many authors agree with Fermors restriction of this term to soils formed as to 90-100
per cent of iron, aluminium, titanium and manganese oxides.

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According to majority opinion, the laterite soil is formed under conditions of high temperature and heavy rainfall with
alternate wet and dry periods. According to Polynov, laterite soils may be the end products of weathering given sufficiently
long time.
In the opinion of George Kuriyan, It is probably the end product of decomposition found in regions of heavy rainfall, more
than 200 cm Such climatic conditions promote leaching of soil whereby lime and silica are leached away and a soil rich in
oxides of iron and aluminium compounds is left behind.
We have numerous varieties of laterite which have bauxite at one end and an indefinite mixture of ferric oxides at the other.
Almost all laterite soils are very poor in lime and magnesia and deficient in nitrogen. Sometimes, the phosphate content may
be high, probably present in the form of iron phosphate but potash is deficient. At some places, there may be higher content
of humus.

Laterite and lateritic soils are widely spread in India and cover an area of 2.48 lakh sq km. They are mainly found on the
summits of Western Ghats at 1000 to 1500 m above mean sea level, Eastern Ghats, the Rajamahal Hills, Vindhyas,
Satpuras and Malwa Plateau.
They also occur at lower levels and in valleys in several other parts of the country. They are well developed in south
Maharashtra, parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Kerala, Jharkhand, Assam and Meghalaya.
Due to intensive leaching and low base exchange capacity, typical laterite soils generally lack fertility and are of little use for
crop production. But when manured and irrigated, some laterites and lateritics are suitable for growing plantation crops like
tea, coffee, rubber, cinchona, coconut, arecanut, etc. In low lying areas paddy is also grown.
Some of the laterite soils in Kerala, Karnataka, Chota Nagpur region of Jharkhand, Orissa and Assam respond well to the
application of fertilizers like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. In some areas, these soils support grazing grounds and
scrub forests.
Laterite and lateritic soils have a unique distinction of providing valuable building material. These soils can be easily cut with
a spade but hardens like iron when exposed to air. Because it is the end- product of weathering, it cannot be weathered
much further and is indefinitely durable.

5. Forest and Mountain Soils:

Such soils are mainly found on the hill slopes covered by forests. These soils occupy about 2.85 lakh sq km which is about
8.67 per cent of the total land area of India. The formation of these soils is mainly governed by the characteristic deposition
of organic matter derived from forest growth.

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These soils are heterogeneous in nature and their character changes with parent rocks, ground-configuration and climate.
Consequently, they differ greatly even if they occur in close proximity to one another. In the Himalayan region, such soils are
mainly found in valley basins, depressions, and less steeply inclined slopes. Generally, it is the north facing slopes which
support soil cover; the southern slopes being too precipitous and exposed to denudation to be covered with soil.
Apart from the Himalayan region, the forest soils occur on Western and Eastern Ghats as well as in some parts of the
Peninsular plateau.

The forest soils are very rich in humus but are deficient in potash, phosphorus and lime. Therefore, they require good deal of
fertilizers for high yields. They are especially suitable for plantations of tea, coffee, spices and tropical fruits in Karnataka,
Tamil Nadu and Kerala and wheat, maize, barley and temperate fruits in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and

6. Arid and Desert Soils:

A large part of the arid and semi-arid region in Rajasthan and adjoining areas of Punjab and Haryana lying between the
Indus and the Aravalis, covering an area of 1.42 lakh sq km (or 4.32% of total area) and receiving less than 50 cm of annual
rainfall, is affected by desert conditions.

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The Rann of Kuchchh in Gujarat is an extension of this desert. This area is covered by a mantle of sand which inhibits soil
growth. This sand has originated from the mechanical disintegration of the ground rocks or is blown from the Indus basin
and the coast by the prevailing south-west monsoon winds. Barren sandy soils without clay factor are also common in

coastal regions of Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. The desert soils consist of aeolian sand (90 to 95 per cent) and clay (5 to
10 per cent).
Some of these soils contain high percentages of soluble salts, are alkaline with varying degree of calcium carbonate and are
poor in organic matter. Over large parts, the calcium content increases downwards and in certain areas the subsoil has ten
times calcium as compared to that of the top soil.
The phosphate content of these soils is as high as in normal alluvial soils. Nitrogen is originally low but its deficiency is made
up to some extent by the availability of nitrogen in the form of nitrates. Thus, the presence of phosphates and nitrates make
them fertile soils wherever moisture is available.
There is, therefore, great possibility of reclaiming these soils if proper irrigation facilities are available. The changes in the
cropping pattern in the Indira Gandhi Canal Command Area are a living example of the utility of the desert soils. However, in
large areas of desert soils, only the drought resistant and salt tolerant crops such as barley, rape, cotton, wheat, millets,
maize and pulses are grown. Consequently, these soils support a low density of population.

7. Saline and Alkaline Soils:

These soils are found in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. In the drier parts of Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab,
Rajasthan and Maharashtra, there are salt-impregnated or alkaline soils occupying 68,000 sq km of area. These soils are
liable to saline and alkaline efflorescences and are known by different names such as reh, kallar, usar, thur, rakar, karl and

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There are many undecomposed rock and mineral fragments which on weathering liberate sodium, magnesium and calcium
salts and sulphurous acid. Some of the salts are transported in solution by the rivers, which percolate in the sub-soils of the

In canal irrigated areas and in areas of high sub-soil water table, the injurious salts are transferred from below to the top soil
by the capillary action as a result of evaporation in dry season. The accumulation of these salts makes the soil infertile and
renders it unfit for agriculture.
It has been estimated that about 1.25 million hectares of land in Uttar Pradesh and 1.21 million hectares in Punjab has been
affected by usar. In Gujarat, the area round the Gulf of Khambhat is affected by the sea tides carrying salt-laden deposits.
Vast areas comprising the estuaries of the Narmada, the Tapi, the Mahi and the Sabarmati have thus become infertile.

8. Peaty and Marshy Soils:

Peaty soils originate in humid regions as a result of accumulation of large amounts of organic matter in the soils. These soils
contain considerable amount of soluble salts and 10-40 per cent of organic matter. Soils belonging to this group are found in
Kottayam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala where it is called kari.

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Marshy soils with a high proportion of vegetable matter also occur in the coastal areas of Orissa and Tamil Nadu,
Sunderbans of West Bengal, in Bihar and Almora district of Uttaranchal. The peaty soils are black, heavy and highly acidic.
They are deficient in potash and phosphate. Most of the peaty soils are under water during the rainy season but as soon the
rains cease, they are put under paddy cultivation.

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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sunflower seedlings, three days after germination

Germination rate testing on the germination table

Germination is the process by which a plant grows from a seed. The most common example of germination is the sprouting of a seedling from aseed of
an angiosperm or gymnosperm. In addition, however, the growth of a sporeling from a spore, such as the growth of hyphae from fungalspores, is also germination.
Thus, germination can be thought of in a general sense as anything expanding into greater being from a small existence or germ, a method that is commonly used
by many seed germination projects and experiments.

1 Seed germination

1.1 Dormancy

1.2 Seedling establishment

2 Germination rate and germination capacity

2.1 Dicot germination

2.1.1 Epigeal

2.1.2 Hypogeal

2.2 Monocot germination

2.3 Precocious germination

3 Pollen germination
3.1 Self-incompatibility

4 Spore germination

4.1 Resting spores

4.2 Ferns and mosses

5 See also

6 References

7 External links

Seed germination[edit]

Brassica campestris germinating seeds

Germination is the growth of a plant contained within a seed; it results in the formation of the seedling. The seed of a vascular plant is a small package produced in
a fruit or cone after the union of male and female sex cells. All fully developed seeds contain an embryo and, in most plant species some store of food reserves,
wrapped in a seed coat. Some plants produce varying numbers of seeds that lack embryos; these are called empty seeds[1] and never germinate. Dormant seeds
are ripe seeds that do not germinate because they are subject to external environmental conditions that prevent the initiation of metabolic processes and cell
growth. Under proper conditions, the seed begins to germinate and the embryonic tissues resume growth, developing towards a seedling.
Seed germination depends on both internal and external conditions. The most important external factors include right temperature, water,oxygen or air and
sometimes light or darkness.[2] Various plants require different variables for successful seed germination. Often this depends on the individual seed variety and is
closely linked to the ecological conditions of a plant's natural habitat. For some seeds, their future germination response is affected by environmental conditions
during seed formation; most often these responses are types of seed dormancy.

Water is required for germination. Mature seeds are often extremely dry and need to take in significant amounts of water, relative to the dry weight of
the seed, before cellular metabolism and growth can resume. Most seeds need enough water to moisten the seeds but not enough to soak them. The
uptake of water by seeds is called imbibition, which leads to the swelling and the breaking of the seed coat. When seeds are formed, most plants store a
food reserve with the seed, such as starch, proteins, or oils. This food reserve provides nourishment to the growing embryo. When the seed imbibes
water, hydrolytic enzymes are activated which break down these stored food resources into metabolically usefulchemicals.[2] After the seedling emerges
from the seed coat and starts growing roots and leaves, the seedling's food reserves are typically exhausted; at this point photosynthesis provides the
energy needed for continued growth and the seedling now requires a continuous supply of water, nutrients, and light.

Oxygen is required by the germinating seed for metabolism.[3] Oxygen is used in aerobic respiration, the main source of the seedling's energy until it
grows leaves.[2] Oxygen is an atmospheric gas that is found in soil pore spaces; if a seed is buried too deeply within the soil or the soil is waterlogged, the
seed can be oxygen starved. Some seeds have impermeable seed coats that prevent oxygen from entering the seed, causing a type of physical dormancy
which is broken when the seed coat is worn away enough to allow gas exchange and water uptake from the environment.

Temperature affects cellular metabolic and growth rates. Seeds from different species and even seeds from the same plant germinate over a wide
range of temperatures. Seeds often have a temperature range within which they will germinate, and they will not do so above or below this range. Many
seeds germinate at temperatures slightly above 60-75 F (16-24 C) [room-temperature if you live in a centrally heated house], while others germinate just
above freezing and others germinate only in response to alternations in temperature between warm and cool. Some seeds germinate when the soil is cool
28-40 F (-2 - 4 C), and some when the soil is warm 76-90 F (24-32 C). Some seeds require exposure to cold temperatures (vernalization) to break
dormancy. Some seeds in a dormant state will not germinate even if conditions are favorable. Seeds that are dependent on temperature to end dormancy
have a type of physiological dormancy. For example, seeds requiring the cold of winter are inhibited from germinating until they take in water in the fall and
experience cooler temperatures. Four degrees Celsius is cool enough to end dormancy for most cool dormant seeds, but some groups, especially within the
family Ranunculaceae and others, need conditions cooler than -5 C. Some seeds will only germinate after hot temperatures during a forest fire which cracks
their seed coats; this is a type of physical dormancy.

Most common annual vegetables have optimal germination temperatures between 75-90 F (24-32 C), though many species (e.g. radishes or spinach) can
germinate at significantly lower temperatures, as low as 40 F (4 C), thus allowing them to be grown from seeds in cooler climates. Suboptimal temperatures lead to
lower success rates and longer germination periods.

Light or darkness can be an environmental trigger for germination and is a type of physiological dormancy. Most seeds are not affected by light or
darkness, but many seeds, including species found in forest settings, will not germinate until an opening in the canopy allows sufficient light for growth of the

Scarification mimics natural processes that weaken the seed coat before germination. In nature, some seeds require particular conditions to germinate, such as
the heat of a fire (e.g., many Australian native plants), or soaking in a body of water for a long period of time. Others need to be passed through an
animal's digestive tract to weaken the seed coat enough to allow the seedling to emerge.[2]

Malted (germinated) barley grains

Some live seeds are dormant and need more time, and/or need to be subjected to specific environmental conditions before they will germinate.Seed
dormancy can originate in different parts of the seed, for example, within the embryo; in other cases the seed coat is involved. Dormancy breaking often involves
changes in membranes, initiated by dormancy-breaking signals. This generally occurs only within hydrated seeds. [4]Factors affecting seed dormancy include the
presence of certain plant hormones, notably abscisic acid, which inhibits germination, andgibberellin, which ends seed dormancy. In brewing, barley seeds are
treated with gibberellin to ensure uniform seed germination for the production of barley malt.[2]

Seedling establishment[edit]
In some definitions, the appearance of the radicle marks the end of germination and the beginning of "establishment", a period that ends when the seedling has
exhausted the food reserves stored in the seed. Germination and establishment as an independent organism are critical phases in the life of a plant when they are
the most vulnerable to injury, disease, and water stress.[2] The germination index can be used as an indicator of phytotoxicity in soils. The mortality between
dispersal of seeds and completion of establishment can be so high that many species have adapted to produce huge numbers of seeds

Germination rate and germination capacity[edit]

Germination of seedlings raised from seeds of eucalyptus after 3 days ofsowing.

In agriculture and gardening, the germination rate describes how many seeds of a particular plant species, variety or seedlot are likely to germinate over a given
period. It is a measure of germination time course and is usually expressed as a percentage, e.g., an 85% germination rate indicates that about 85 out of 100
seeds will probably germinate under proper conditions over the germination period given. The germination rate is useful for calculating the seed requirements for a
given area or desired number of plants. In seed physiologists and seed scientists "germination rate" is the reciprocal of time taken for the process of germination to
complete starting from time of sowing. On the other hand the number of seed able to complete germination in a population (i.e. seed lot) is referred
as germination capacity.

Dicot germination[edit]
The part of the plant that first emerges from the seed is the embryonic root, termed the radicle or primary root. It allows the seedling to become anchored in the
ground and start absorbing water. After the root absorbs water, an embryonic shoot emerges from the seed. This shoot comprises three main parts:
the cotyledons (seed leaves), the section of shoot below the cotyledons (hypocotyl), and the section of shoot above the cotyledons (epicotyl). The way the shoot
emerges differs among plant groups.[2]



In epigeal germination (or epigeous germination), the hypocotyl elongates and forms a hook, pulling rather than pushing the cotyledons and apical
meristem through the soil. Once it reaches the surface, it straightens and pulls the cotyledons and shoot tip of the growing seedlings into the air. Beans, tamarind,
and papaya are examples of plants that germinate this way.[2]



Germination can also be done by hypogeal germination (or hypogeous germination), where the epicotyl elongates and forms the hook. In this type of germination,
the cotyledons stay underground where they eventually decompose. Peas, gram and mango, for example, germinate this way.[5]

Monocot germination[edit]
In monocot seeds, the embryo's radicle and cotyledon are covered by a coleorhiza and coleoptile, respectively. The coleorhiza is the first part to grow out of the
seed, followed by the radicle. The coleoptile is then pushed up through the ground until it reaches the surface. There, it stops elongating and the first leaves

Precocious germination[edit]
If the seed germinates without undergoing all the four stages of germination, i.e., globular, heart shape, torpedo shape, and cotyledonary stage, it is called
precocious germination.

Pollen germination[edit]
Another germination event during the life cycle of gymnosperms and flowering plants is the germination of a pollen grain after pollination. Like seeds, pollen grains
are severely dehydrated before being released to facilitate their dispersal from one plant to another. They consist of a protective coat containing several cells (up to
8 in gymnosperms, 2-3 in flowering plants). One of these cells is a tube cell. Once the pollen grain lands on the stigma of a receptive flower (or a female cone in
gymnosperms), it takes up water and germinates. Pollen germination is facilitated by hydration on the stigma, as well as by the structure and physiology of the
stigma and style.[2] Pollen can also be induced to germinate in vitro (in a petri dish or test tube).[6][7]
During germination, the tube cell elongates into a pollen tube. In the flower, the pollen tube then grows towards the ovule where it discharges the sperm produced
in the pollen grain for fertilization. The germinated pollen grain with its two sperm cells is the mature male microgametophyte of these plants.[2]

Since most plants carry both male and female reproductive organs in their flowers, there is a high risk of self-pollination and thus inbreeding. Some plants use the
control of pollen germination as a way to prevent this self-pollination. Germination and growth of the pollen tube involve molecular signaling between stigma and
pollen. In self-incompatibility in plants, the stigma of certain plants can molecularly recognize pollen from the same plant and prevent it from germinating.[8]

Spore germination[edit]
Germination can also refer to the emergence of cells from resting spores and the growth of sporeling hyphae or thalli from spores in fungi, algae and some plants.

Conidia are asexual reproductive (reproduction without the fusing of gametes) spores of fungi which germinate under specific conditions. A variety of cells can be
formed from the germinating conidia. The most common are germ tubes which grow and develop into hyphae. Another type of cell is a conidial anastomosis tube
(CAT); these differ from germ tubes in that they are thinner, shorter, lack branches, exhibit determinate growth and home toward each other. Each cell is of a
tubular shape, but the conidial anastomosis tube forms a bridge that allows fusion between conidia. [9][10]

Resting spores[edit]
In resting spores, germination that involves cracking the thick cell wall of the dormant spore. For example, in zygomycetes the thick-walled zygosporangium cracks
open and the zygosporeinside gives rise to the emerging sporangiophore. In slime molds, germination refers to the emergence of amoeboid cells from the
hardened spore. After cracking the spore coat, further development involves cell division, but not necessarily the development of a multicellular organism (for
example in the free-living amoebas of slime molds).[2]

Ferns and mosses[edit]

In plants such as bryophytes, ferns, and a few others, spores germinate into independent gametophytes. In the bryophytes (e.g., mosses and liverworts), spores
germinate into protonemata, similar to fungal hyphae, from which the gametophyte grows. In ferns, the gametophytes are small, heart-shaped prothalli that can
often be found underneath a spore-shedding adult plant.[2]

See also[edit]

Lily Seed Germination Types

Seed testing



Jump up^ "A Guide to Forest Seed Handling".


^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Raven, Peter H.; Ray F. Evert; Susan E. Eichhorn (2005). Biology of Plants, 7th Edition. New York: W.H. Freeman and
Company Publishers. pp. 504508. ISBN 0-7167-1007-2.


Jump up^ Siegel, S. M.; Rosen, L. A. (1962). "Effects of Reduced Oxygen Tension on Germination and Seedling Growth". Physiologia
Plantarum 15 (3): 437444. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3054.1962.tb08047.x.


Jump up^ Derek Bewley, J.; Black, Michael; Halmer, Peter (2006). The encyclopedia of seeds: science, technology and uses Cabi Series. CABI.
p. 203. ISBN 0-85199-723-6. Retrieved 2009-08-28.


Jump up^ Sadhu, M.K. (1989). Plant propagation. New Age International. p. 61. ISBN 978-81-224-0065-6.


Jump up^ Martin FW (1972). "In Vitro Measurement of Pollen Tube Growth Inhibition". Plant Physiol 49 (6): 924
925. doi:10.1104/pp.49.6.924. PMC 366081. PMID 16658085.


Jump up^ Pfahler PL (1981). "In vitro germination characteristics of maize pollen to detect biological activity of environmental pollutants". Environ.
Health Perspect. 37: 12532. doi:10.2307/3429260.JSTOR 3429260. PMC 1568653. PMID 7460877.


Jump up^ Takayama S, Isogai A (2005). "Self-incompatibility in plants". Annu Rev Plant Biol 56 (1): 467
89. doi:10.1146/annurev.arplant.56.032604.144249. PMID 15862104.


Jump up^ Roca, M.; Davide, L.C.; Davide, L.M.; Mendes-Costa, M.C.; Schwan, R.F.; Wheals, A. (2004). "Conidial anastomoses fusions between
Colletotrichum species". Mycological Research 108 (11): 13201326. doi:10.1017/S0953756204000838.


Jump up^ Roca, M.G.; Arlt, J.; Jeffree, C.E.; Read, N.D. (2005). "Cell biology of conidial anastomosis tubes in Neurospora crassa". Eukaryotic
Cell 4 (5): 911919. doi:10.1128/EC.4.5.911-919.2005.PMC 1140100. PMID 15879525.

External links[edit]
Wikibooks has
more on the

of: Germinatio

Wikisource has the

text of the
1906 New
Encyclopedia articl

Sowing Seeds A survey of seed sowing techniques.

Seed Germination: Theory and Practice, Norman C. Deno, 139 Lenor Dr., State College PA 16801, USA. An extensive study of the germination rates
of a huge variety of seeds under different experimental conditions, including temperature variation and chemical environment.

Rajjou, L; Duval, M; Gallardo, K; Catusse, J; Bally, J; Job, C; Job, D (2012). "Seed germination and vigor". Annu Rev Plant Biol. 63: 507
33.doi:10.1146/annurev-arplant-042811-105550. PMID 22136565.

Germination time-lapse ~1 minuite HD video of mung bean seeds germinating over 10 days. Hosted on YouTube.



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