Background: Hypoxis hemerocallidea
, arguably the most well-known medicinal species in South Africa, has been the subject of intensive harvesting
from the wild leading to recent conservation concerns. The seeds of this species do not propagate easily and can lie dormant for up to twelve months.
Materials and Methods:
In the in vitro
germination experiments water, acid and chemical pre-sowing treatments were performed to determine the
germination response of this species in both light and dark conditions. In the ex vitro
experiment, intact seeds were sown and left to germinate in a
potting soil mix under greenhouse conditions.
Highest levels of germination (36.7-60.0% in the light and 36.7-46.7% in the dark) were achieved by treating mechanically scarified seeds
at various concentrations for 24 h. This was followed by scarified seeds soaked in water (26.7% in the light and 23.3% in the dark). Similar
results (23.3 and 26.7%) were obtained in the 1% and 4% KNO3
treatments, respectively, under light conditions only. The fastest time to germinate
was two days and was obtained in the 1200 ppm GA3
treatment in both light and dark conditions. Ex vitro
germination of H. hemerocallidea
under greenhouse conditions was unsuccessful.
Conclusion: H. hemerocallidea
displays physical and non-deep physiological dormancy where pre-sowing treatments are required before the seeds