iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Influence of mother plant and scarification agents on seed germination rate and vigor in Retama sphaerocarpa L. (Boissier)

André Fabião   , Carla Faria, Maria Helena Almeida, António Fabião

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 7, Issue 5, Pages 306-312 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1155-007
Published: Apr 08, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

The aim of this study was to optimize nursery production of Retama sphaerocarpa, an important shrub species in some plant communities of arid and semi-arid zones, which is used in the restoration of degraded areas. This Fabaceae family species has seed coat dormancy, which may hinder germination. In order to assess the influence of scarification agents and mother plant effect on germination rate and seedling vigour, a germination test with fresh seed was performed in a germination chamber, following a factorial design with two fixed factors (mother plant effect and scarification agent). The test took place in the forest nursery of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Lisbon, Portugal. The fresh seeds were subjected to scarification by two agents, sulphuric acid (96% concentration) and hot water (80°C), the former for 60 minutes and the latter for 30 seconds, plus an untreated control. The scarification of seeds using sulphuric acid was found to be the best method to enhance germination of this species (p<0.05), as it allowed to reach the highest germination rate (>79%) and the best vigour index. Differences between mother plants were also statistically significant and could influence germination success. We suggest that effectiveness of hot water scarification may be improved by additional time of seed immersion. The technical viability for seed production of this species was confirmed and key factors for its success identified. Owing to its potential for use on land rehabilitation, increment on plant commercial demand should be expected in the near future.


Fresh Seed, Germination, Mother Plant, Retama sphaerocarpa, Scarification, Vigor

Authors’ address

André Fabião
Carla Faria
Maria Helena Almeida
António Fabião
Centro de Estudos Florestais, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Tapada da Ajuda, P-1349-017 Lisboa (Portugal)

Corresponding author

André Fabião


Fabião A, Faria C, Almeida MH, Fabião A (2014). Influence of mother plant and scarification agents on seed germination rate and vigor in Retama sphaerocarpa L. (Boissier). iForest 7: 306-312. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1155-007

Academic Editor

Gianfranco Minotta

Paper history

Received: Oct 18, 2013
Accepted: Jan 20, 2014

First online: Apr 08, 2014
Publication Date: Oct 01, 2014
Publication Time: 2.60 months

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