Chinese Bulletin of Botany ›› 2016, Vol. 51 ›› Issue (6): 863-871.doi: 10.11983/CBB15161

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Advances in Research of Seed Physical Dormancy

Tingting Xue1, Yongbao Shen1,2*, Jia Liu1, Fenghou Shi1,2   

  1. 1College of Forestry, Nanjing Forestry University, Nanjing 210037, China
    2Co-innovation Center for Sustainable Forestry in Southern China, Nanjing Forestry University, Southern Tree Seed Inspection Center National Forestry Administration, Nanjing 210037, China
  • Received:2015-09-11 Accepted:2016-05-09 Online:2016-12-02 Published:2016-11-01
  • Contact: Shen Yongbao
  • About author:

    # Co-first authors


Seed physical dormancy is a special type of dormancy caused by an impermeable seed coat or pericarp. It is an adaptation to environmental changes that plants acquire during long-term phylogenesis. This article introduces the concept and definition of physical dormancy and summarizes the morphological structure of physically dormant seed, which includes a water-impermeable layer of seed coat, water-gap complex and the embryo. It also summarizes the release of seed physically dormant and the mechanisms involved in the formation of openings in the seed coat. It describes the phylogenetic relationships of physically dormant seed. It also put forword the probable research point on seed physically dormant in the future.

Figure 1

Testa structure of Melilotus albus seeds (Hamley, 1932)"

Figure 2

The structure of plug-like water-gap complex of Bixa orellana seeds (Nandi, 1998)(A) The arrow points to the place of the plug-like water-gap complex; (B) The scanning electron micrographs of the plug-like water-gap complex; (C) The section sketch map of the plug-like water-gap complex"

Figure 3

Summary of general trends in angiosperm seed evolution with respect to seed type and dormancy class (Finch- Savage and Leubner-Metzger, 2006)MD: Morphological dormancy; MPD: Morphological and physiological dormancy; ND: Non dormancy; PD: Physiological dormancy; PY: Physical dormancy; B1-B4: 4 subtypes of basal seed type; P: Pheripheral seed type; LA: Linear axile seed type; MA: Miniature axile seed type; FA1-FA4: 4 subtypes of foliate axile seed type. The white part is the endosperm, and the black part is the embryo."

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