Germination success under different treatments and pod sowing depths in six legume species present in olive groves

Gema Siles, Álvaro García-Zafra, Juan A. Torres, Antonio García-Fuentes, Luis Ruiz-Valenzuela


This study analysed the germination success of pods of six annual native legumes species: Astragalus hamosus, Medicago minima, Medicago orbicularis, Medicago polymorpha, Medicago rigidula and Scorpiurus muricatus. The use of these species has been proposed as a means of generating and improving herbaceous cover in olive groves. Germination success was studied in terms of the variability in the number of seeds germinated per pod after 18 months at two different sowing depths, on the surface (S) and buried 10 mm (B). Pods were subject to five different pre-germination treatments: chemical scarification, consisting of immersion in sulphuric acid for 15 min (S_15) and 20 min (S_20), immersion in water for 48 h (W_48), pod precooled to -18ºC for one month (P_18º) and untreated pods (Con). The results showed that the effectiveness of the different treatments and sowing depths depended on the species, and that there were no problems of ‘sibling-competition’ in any of the treatments or at any of the sowing depths. Species with larger, non-spiralled pods, such as A. hamosus or S. muricatus, or with very loosely spiralled pods such as M. orbicularis, had greater germination rates when buried, mainly in the case of untreated pods and pods that were immersed in sulphuric acid for 20 minutes.


burial depth; spontaneous cover; scarification

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DOI: 10.5424/sjar/2017152-9753