Zucc. ex Endl. is an endemic conifer tree species in China with high ornamental value. In order to investigate favorable conditions for seed germination and explore the germination inhibition mechanism of this species at high temperatures, the effects of temperature, light, and storage on the mean germination time (MGT), speed of germination (SG), and total germination percentage (TGP) are evaluated here. Seeds that have either been kept still or entered into a state of dormancy at high temperature are assessed here by a recovery experiment. Furthermore, the contribution of covering layers on thermo-inhibition is analyzed here, including the way they work. This has been realized by the structural observation and via the determination of the abscisic acid (ABA) content. The results show that seeds germinate to a high percentage (approximately 90%) at temperatures of 15 or 20 °C, with or without light, whereas higher temperatures of 25 or 30 °C impeded radicle protrusion and resulted in the germination percentage decreasing sharply (within 5%). Inhibition at high temperatures was thoroughly reversed (bringing about approximately 80% germination) by placing the ungerminated seeds in favorable temperatures and incubating them for an additional 30 days. Dry cold storage did little to reduce the temperature request for germination. Embryo coverings, especially the nucellar membrane, and ABA levels both had a dominant role in seed germination regulation in response to temperature. Under favorable temperature conditions, the levels of ABA significantly decreased. Germination occurred when the levels dropped to a threshold of 15 ng/g (FW (Fresh Weight)). Incubation at a high temperature (25 °C) greatly increased ABA levels and caused the inhibition of radicle protrusion.
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