NEWS 2012

A threatened alpine species, Fritillaria tubiformis subsp. moggridgei: Seed morphology and temperature regulation of embryo growth

Plant Biosystems 146(1): 74–83 (2012)
¹Department of Veterinary Morphophysiology, University of Torino, via Leonardo da Vinci 44, 10095 Grugliasco, TO, Italy
²Department of Plant Biology, University of Torino, Viale P.A. Mattioli 25, 10125 Torino, Italy
³Seed Conservation Department, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Wakehurst Place, Ardingly, West Sussex, RH17 6TN, UK
⁴Ente di gestione Parchi e Riserve Naturali Cuneesi, via S. Anna 34, 12013 Chiusa di Pesio, Cuneo, Italy

Carasso et al. 2012


Alpine plants have evolved to fit their life cycle into the short vegetative season of mountain habitats. Fritillaria tubiformis Gren. & Godr. subsp. moggridgei (Boiss. & Reuter ex Planch.) Rix (Liliaceae) is an endemic alpine geophyte, bearing seeds with underdeveloped embryos. Seeds are dispersed in August and embryos complete their development by spring when seeds germinate. In order to optimize seed banking procedures and to develop a proper germination protocol for plant regeneration, we studied embryo morphogenesis and analyzed how this process is influenced by temperature. Radicle protrusion occurred after an incubation of 5 months at 48C. Under these conditions, underdeveloped embryos reached maturity and acquired a well-defined shoot apex. At the time of dispersal, abundant storage compounds were present in seeds. Lipids and lipid/proteins were uniformly distributed within the embryo and the endosperm, respectively. At late stages of embryo development, starch granules were localized at the cotyledonary tip and were also detected around the shoot meristem. Results suggested that F. tubiformis embryos resumed growth over a large range of temperatures, but were only able to complete development at low temperatures after which they were able to germinate by spring.

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Copyright Laurence Hill