Recurrent inconsistencies in publications that involve Maguire’s germination rate formula


Aim of study: The objective of this study was to present statistical information pertaining to recurrent inconsistencies found in the literature of the last 25 years that involve calculation of the GR and the errors that this may entail when interpreting the seed vigor of different botanical materials.

Materiales y métodos: After filtering articles that did not present numerical results or in which the application of Maguire's formula was not clearly indicated, a total of 124 papers were ultimately used in this study.

Main results: Germination rate (GR) represents the potential of seeds to germinate and, along with germination percentage (GP), are the two most important measurements when evaluating seed quality. The correct calculation of GR allows the seeds classification according to their vigor and capacity to produce healthy seedlings, so it is very important to rely on the adequate mathematical formula for this purpose. According to the formula developed by Maguire, this parameter is calculated by the sum of values obtained when dividing the GP at different times (i.e. daily) by the total time elapsed since the start of the test. We have found from the relevant literature that different authors have been using different ways of applying the formula, which makes it difficult to directly compare the results.

Research highlights: A total of 54.8 % of the papers reviewed, belonging mainly to the theme of forestry, presented objectionable application of the formula. Publication of this warning may help to reduce the occurrence of this situation in the future.

Keywords. Germination percentage, germination speed, Maguire’s formula, seed vigor.


Download data is not yet available.


Bouton J, Dudeck A, Smith R, 1976. Germination in freshly harvested seed of centipede grass. Agron J 68: 991-992.

Brown R, Mayer D, 1988. Representing cumulative germination. A critical analysis of single-value germination indices. Ann Bot 61:117-125.

Czabator FJ, 1962. Germination value: An index combining speed and completenes of pine seed germination. Forest Sci 8: 386-396.

González L, Orozco A, 1996. Métodos de análisis de datos en la germinación de semillas, un ejemplo: Manfreda brachystachya. Bol Soc Botánica México 58: 15-30.

Hartmann HT, Kester DE, Davies FT, Geneve RL, 2002. Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices. 7th ed. Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River, NJ, USA.

ISTA, 2012. Rules proposals. International Rules for Seed Testing. Document OM11-05. 68 pp.

Maguire JD, 1962. Speed of germination- Aid in selection and evaluation for seedling emergence and vigor. Crop Sci 2: 176-177.

Ranal M, García D, 2006. How and why to measure the germination process? Brazilian J Botany 29: 1-11.

Ranal MA, García D, Ferreira WR, Mendes C, 2009. Calculating germination measurements and organizing spreadsheets. Brazilian J Botany 32: 849-855.

Throneberry GO, Smith FG, 1955. Relation of respiratory and enzymatic activity to corn seed viability. Plant Physiol 3: 337-343.

How to Cite
PireR., & Vargas-SimónG. (2019). Recurrent inconsistencies in publications that involve Maguire’s germination rate formula. Forest Systems, 28(1), eSC02.
Short communications