Germination of Sophora seeds after prolonged storage
Germination of Sophora seeds 24–40 years old from New Zealand (8 species), Chile (2 species), Lord Howe Island (1 species), and Hawai’i (1 species), and of fresh seed from trees established using seeds from the same seed lots, was assessed. Germination was rapid for most seed lots, with, on average, fresh seed having high germination (77– 94%) and stored seed low germination (0–40%). Exceptions to this were old S. chrysophylla seed, which had unusually high germination (84%), and fresh S. longicarinata seed, which had unusually low germination (24%). The results provide further support for the role of long-distance oceanic dispersal for the distribution of Sophora sect. Edwardsia around the Southern Hemisphere, and also suggest that long-term seed storage could be used for the ex situ management of Sophora populations. The results also highlight some intriguing ecological correlates of germination that warrant further study.