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International Journal of Agriculture: Research and Review. Vol.

, 3 (1), 172-175, 2013

Available online at
ISSN 2228-7973 ©2013 ECISI Journals


PHEASANT'S EYE (Adonis vernalis L.)


1- Department of Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of Agriculture, Bu-Ali Sina University,
Hamedan, I. R. Iran
2- Department of Agricultural Sciences, Payame Noor University, Tehran, I. R. Iran
3- Agriculture Jahad Institute of Technical and Vocational higher Education, Isfahan Education Center, I.
R. Iran

*Corresponding Author Email:

ABSTRACT: Dormancy and germination requirements were investigated in seeds of Adonis

vernalis (Ranunculaceae). Seeds were subjected to different treatments (i) concentrated
sulphuric acid for 30, 60 and 90 seconds,(ii) hot water at 70 and 90°C for 5 and 10 minutes
(iii) three levels of KNO3 (0.1, 0.2 and 0.3% v/v) and (iv) 3 different stratification periods (1,
2 and 3 weeks). The highest percentage of germination was observed in the case of
stratification applied for 3 weeks (90%), but 2 and 3 weeks treatments resulted in positive
effect not stronger than 3 weeks. Same as stratification, KNO3 treatment had a positive effect
on seed germination in all levels especially at 0.3% v/v but this was lower than stratification
treatment. Germination percentage, day of first emergence and 50% emergence and mean
germination time were affected by both stratification and KNO3 treatments. In contrast to
stratification and KNO3 treatments, seeds showed weak response to periods of sulfuric acid
98% (v/v) and hot water treatments.

Key words: Dormancy; germination; seed; stratification.

ripening) or moist chilling (stratification), or
Pheasant's eye (Adonis vernalis L.) has a long exposure to light. The situation is further
history of medicinal use and is still retained in complicated by the fact that, although
the Pharmacopoeias of several European germination is an all or nothing event for each
countries (Stuart, 1990). The plant contains seed, populations display variable degrees of
cardiac glycosides similar to those found in the dormancy that are reflected in the rate or
foxglove (Digitalis purpurea). These substances percentage of germination under specific
improve the heart's efficiency, increasing its conditions. Presumably, each seed is in a state
output at the same time as slowing its rate somewhere along the continuum from deeply
(Chevallier, 1996). It also has a sedative action dormant to nondormant, but it remains unclear
and so is generally prescribed for patients whose how the tipping point between nonpermissive
hearts are beating too fast or irregularly and permissive for germination is sensed for
(Chevallier, 1996). Pheasant's eye has seed each seed (Finkelstein et al., 2008).
dormancy. Seed dormancy is a temporary Stratification plays an important role in
suspension of visible growth of any plant providing the stimulus required to overcome
structure containing a meristem does not refer to dormancy. Stratification has been reported to
commencement of temporary suspensions of induce an increase in GA3 concentration
growth (Lang et al., 1987). Seed dormancy has (Yamauchi et al., 2004). Potassium nitrate is
been further negatively categorized in terms of well documented as a compound, which
the requirements for release from this block, increases the germination of photo-dormant
such as disruption of the seed coat seeds (Yamauchi et al., 2004). Many gardeners
(scarification), a period of dry storage (after- choose potassium nitrate to break seed
Intl. J. Agric: Res & Rev. Vol., 3 (1), 172-175, 2013

dormancy and increase the health of plants. fi: Day during germination period (between 0
According to Bewley and Black (1994), KNO3 and 14 day).
raises the ambient oxygen levels by making less ni: Number of germinated seeds per day
oxygen available for citric acid cycle. Aliero N: Sum of germinated seeds
(2004) reported that use of hot water, sulfuric
acid and sand paper scarification affected Statistical analysis
Parkia biglobosa seed dormancy-breaking. The The statistical design was a completely
objective of this research was to determine the randomized design. Four replications and 100
effects of different seed dormancy breaking seeds per replicate were used. Data for
treatments which are able to stimulate and germination and abnormal germination
enhance germination of this medicinal plant. percentage were subjected to arcsine
transformation before analysis of variance.
MATERIALS AND METHODS Statistical analysis was carried out using SAS
program. Mean comparison was performed with
This research was done at the Department of Duncan’s test at the 5% level of significance.
Agronomy and Plant Breeding, Faculty of
Agriculture, Bu-Ali Sina University, Islamic RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Republic of Iran. Pheasant's eye seeds were
received from Hamedan. Measured traits were: In our experiment, neither sulfuric acid (98%)
final germination percentage, mean germination nor treating with hot water had any strong effect
time, E1st, E50 and abnormal seedling. on germination indexes compared to control
group (Table 1). El Siddig et al. (2001) found
Seed treatments that scarification with 90% sulfuric acid
For stratification treatment, Pheasant's eye seeds decreased fresh weight, MGT and E1st of
were mixed in perlite medium and distilled Tamaridus indica seedling. Levels of KNO3 did
water in vessels, then transferred to a stimulate the germination of Pheasant's eye
refrigerator for 1, 2 and 3 weeks at 5±1◦C. (Table 1). Shanmugavalli et al. (2007) showed
These vessels put into sealed plastic bags to that seeds of sorghum soaked in 0.5% and 1%
avoid moisture loss. After this time the seeds potassium nitrate (KNO3) improved germination
were rinsed with tap water completely. For up to 44%. Potassium nitrate has been used for
KNO3 treatment, seeds were treated by 0.1, 0.2 many years, with positive studies beginning in
and 0.3% (v/v) KNO3 for 24 hours. In this case, the 1980's and it often increased the germination
flasks were shaken on orbital shaker in light of photo-dormant. According to Bewley and
condition. Scarification with sulfuric acid 98% Black (1994), KNO3 raises the ambient oxygen
(v/v) was done in 3 periods (30, 60 and 90 levels by making less oxygen available for citric
seconds). For hot water treatment, seeds were acid cycle. In addition to KNO3 treatment, seed
treated at 70°C and 90°C in a hot water bath, for treatment with stratification for 1, 2 and 3 weeks
5 and 10 minutes, and then taken away from the were significant and dormancy of Pheasant's eye
heat source. The seeds were left in the water seeds broken by these treatments. Stratification
overnight (ca.12 hr) while it gradually cooled for 3 weeks was more effective than 1 and 2
down to room temperature. weeks (Table 1). Stratification plays an
important role in improving sensitivity to other
Germination tests treatment to overcome dormancy (Bretzloff and
Four replicates of 100 seeds were germinated Pellett,1979; Schelin et al., 2003; Yamauchi et
between double layered papers [7] with 5 ml of al., 2004). Stratification has been reported to
water in 8cm Petri dishes. These Petri dishes induce an increase in sensitivity to GA3
were put into sealed plastic bags to avoid concentration [9]. In this study stratification
moisture loss. Seeds were allowed to germinate treatments and KNO3 levels were the most
at 15±1◦C in the dark condition for 14 days. effective treatment respectively. Similar to our
Germination was considered to have occurred results, Oh et al. (2006) suggest that
when the radicles were 2mm long. Germination stratification promotes germination by
percentage was recorded every 24h for 14 days. increasing the potential for bioactive GA
Mean germination time (MGT) was calculated accumulation. Stratification led to increased
by following equation (Schelin et al., 2003). expression of the GA biosynthesis genes

Mean Germination Time (MGT) :

 fini GA20ox1 (GIBBERELLIN 20 OXIDASE ),
GA20ox2, and GA3ox1 and decreased
N expression of the GA catabolic gene GA2ox2
(Yamauchi et al., 2004). In some reports

Intl. J. Agric: Res & Rev. Vol., 3 (1), 172-175, 2013

stratification was introduced as the best method but scarification with hot water and sulfuric acid
for dormancy breaking. Beginning of the had no strong effect. Our results showed that
embryo dormancy is associated with applying stratification for 3 weeks could be the
accumulation of growth inhibitors such as ABA best treatment for Pheasant's eye dormant seeds
and breaking of dormancy with a shift in the (Table 1). Finally, we suggest that Pheasant's
balance of growth regulators towards growth eye has morphophysiological dormancy because
promoters such as GA3, that overcome the effect it has underdeveloped embryo, but in addition it
of growth inhibitors (Rouhi et al., 2012). has a physiological component to their
dormancy. Therefore seeds require a dormancy-
Conclusions breaking treatment, for example a defined cold
stratification which in some cases can be
The dormancy of Pheasant's eye seed was replaced by GA application.
broken by stratification and KNO3 treatments,

Table 1: influence of seed dormancy breaking treatments on germination traits of Pheasant's eye, In each column
means followed by the same letter are not significantly different at the P < 0.05 level
FGP MGT E1ts E50 Abnormal
Dormancy breaking treatments
(%) (seed/day) (days) (days) seedling (%)
Control 5d 23.38 d 26.6 d 0d 0a
Acid scarification 98% (v/v)
Sulfuric acid (30 sec) 3d 28.1 e 26.5 d 0d 0a
Sulfuric acid (60 sec) 3d 27.7 e 27.1 d 0d 0a
Sulfuric acid (90 sec) 4d 28.12 e 29.1 e 0d 5b
Scarification by hot water
70°C + 5 min 8d 23.4 d 25.5 d 0d 7b
70°C + 10 min 8d 23.22 d 25.2 d 0d 7b
90°C + 5 min 5d 24.1 d 26 d 0d 5b
90°C + 10 min 7d 24.5 d 26 d 0d 7b
Potassium nitrate (KNO3 v/v)
0.1 23 c 18 c 20.2 c 18.3 b 20 c
0.2 78 b 18.2 c 14.1 b 17.9 b 18 c
0.3 75 b 8.85b 16.2 b 19.7 b 7b
1 week 81 a 9.11 b 19.4 c 18.2 b 5b
2 weeks 82 a 9.7 a 14.2 b 19.2 b 6b
3 weeks 90 a 9.9 a 13.4 a 15.1 a 3a
FGP: final germination percentage, MGT: mean germination time, E1st: day of first observation of seedling
emergence, E50: days to 50% emergence

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