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

  • Gema Siles University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
  • Álvaro García-Zafra University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
  • Juan A. Torres University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
  • Antonio García-Fuentes University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
  • Luis Ruiz-Valenzuela University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
Keywords: burial depth, spontaneous cover, scarification


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.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Gema Siles, University of Jaén, Dept. of Animal Biology, Plant Biology and Ecology. Paraje Las Lagunillas s/n. Jaén
Departamento de Biología Animal, Biología Vegetal y Ecología


Abbate V, Maugeri G, Cristaudo A, Greta F, 2010. Scorpiurus muricatus L. subsp. subvillosus (L) Thell., a potential forage legume species for a Mediterranean environment: A review. Grass Forage Sci 65: 2-10.

Abdelguerfi A, Abdelguerfi-Berrekia R, 1989. Reflections on the value of some forage species adapted to the arid and semi-arid zones. Ann Inst Nat Agron El Harrach, Algeria, 11: 1-10.

Argel PJ, Paton CJ, 1999. Overcoming legume hardseededness. In: Forage seed production: Tropical and subtropical species; Loch DS & Ferguson JE (Eds.), Vol. 2, pp: 247-265. Cab Int, Wallingford, UK.

Balouchi H, Sanavy S, 2006. Effect of gibberellic acid, prechilling, sulfuric acid and potassium nitrate on seed germination and dormancy of annual medics. Pak J Biol Sci 9: 2875-2880.

Beale PE, Lahlou A, Bounejmate M, 1991. Distribution of wild annual legume species in Morocco and relationship with soil and climatic factor. Aust J Agric Res 42: 1217-1230.

Blanca G, Cabezudo B, Cueto M, Fernández-López C, Morales-Torres C, 2009. Flora Vascular de Andalucía Oriental, Vol 2: Ranunculaceae-Polygalaceae. Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía, Sevilla.

Blumenthal MJ, Ison RL, 1996. Plant population dynamics in subterranean clover and murex medic swards 3. Effect of pod burial, summer grazing and autumn cultivation on emergence. Aust J Exp Agr 36: 533-538.

Bojňansky V, Fargašová A, 2007. Atlas of seeds and fruits of Central and East-European flora: The Carpathian Mountains Region. Springer-Verlag, NY.

Can E, Çeliktaş N, Hatipoğlu R, Avci S, 2009. Breaking seed dormancy of some annual Medicago and Trifolium species of different treatments. Turk J Field Crops 14: 72-78.

Chebouti A, Abdelguerfi A, 1999. Study on the behaviour of 48 Medicago orbicularis (L.) Bart. populations in two agroecological areas: interaction with the site of origin. In: Dynamics and sustainability of Mediterranean pastoral systems; Etienne M (Ed.), CIHEAM-IAMZ, Zaragoza. Cahiers Opt Méditerr 39: 103-105.

Cheplick GP, 1992. Sibling competition in plants. J Ecol 80: 567-575.

Derkaoui M, Caddel JL, Rommann LL, 1993. Forage quality in annual Medicago spp. Agricultura Mediterranea 123: 86-91.

Faria SMD, Lewis GP, Prent JI, Sutherland JM, 1989. Occurrence of nodulation in the Leguminosae. New Phythol 111: 607-619.

Fernández-Escobar R, De la Rosa R, León L, Gómez JA, Testi L, Orgaz F, Gil-Ribes, JA, Quesada-Moraga E, Trapero A, Msallem M, 2013. Evolution and sustainability of the olive production systems. Opt Méditerr Series A: Mediterr Semin 106: 11-41.

Gardiner J, Luo Z, Roman LA, 2009. Fixed effects, random effects and GEE: What are the differences? Statistics in Medicine 28: 221-239.

Gómez JA, Sobrinho TA, Giráldez JV, Fereres E, 2009. Soil management effects on runoff, erosion and soil properties in an olive grove of Southern Spain. Soil Till Res 102: 5-13.

Hardegree SP, Emmerich WE, 1991. Variability in germination rate among seed lots of Lehmann lovegrass. J Range Manage 44: 323-326.

Ibáñez AN, Passera CB, 1997. Factors affecting the germination of albaida (Anthyllis cytisoides L.), a forage legume of the Mediterranean coast. J Arid Environ 35: 225-231.

IBM, 2013. IBM SPSS Statistics for Windows, Version 22.0. IBM Corp, Armonk, NY.

Kim SY, Hwang WH, Lee JH, Oh SH, Cho JH, Han SI, Jeong KH, Park ST Choi KJ, Kim JI, Lee JY, Song YC, Yeo US, Kang HW, 2010. Change of seed dormancy and viability of Chinese milk vetch (Astragalus sinicus L.) in rice field. Kor J Crop Sci 55: 76-82.

Kimura E, Islam MA, 2012. Seed scarification methods and their use in forage legumes. Res J Seed Sci 5: 38-50.

Loi A, Cocks PS, Howieson JG, Carr SJ, 1999. Hardseededness and the pattern of softening in Biserrula pelecinus L., Ornithopus compressus L., and Trifolium subterraneum L. seeds. Aust J Agr Res 50: 1073-1082.

Loi A, Nutt BJ, 2010. Twin sowing and summer sowing. Alternative techniques to introduce legumes into pasture. In: The contributions of grasslands to the conservation of Mediterranean biodiversity; Porqueddu C and Rios S (Eds.). CIHEAM/CIBIO/FAO/SEEP, Zaragoza. Opt Méditerr: Ser A/92: 97-100.

Malo JE, Suárez F, 1995. Establishment of pasture species on cattle dung: the role of endozoochorous seeds. J Veg Sci 6: 169-174.

Martin I, De la Cuadra C, 2004. Evaluation of different scarification methods to remove hardseededness in Trifolium subterraneum and Medicago polymorpha accessions of the Spanish base genebank. Seed Sci Technol 32: 671-681.

Meloni MC, Piluzza G, Bullitta S, 2000. The potential role of alternative legumes from Asinara island for multiple use in difficult environments. In: Legumes for Mediterranean forage crops, pastures and alternative uses; Sulas L (Ed.), pp: 427-430. CIHEAM, Zaragoza.

Patanè C, Gresta F, 2006. Germination of Astragalus hamosus and Medicago orbicularis as affected by seed-coat dormancy breaking techniques. J Arid Environ 67: 165-173.

Piano E, Francis CM, 1992. The annual species of Medicago in the Mediterranean region. Ecogeography and related aspects of plant introduction and breeding. Proc. X Int Conf EUCARPIA Medicago spp. Group. Loidi, 15-19 June, Istituto Sperimentale per le Colture Foraggere Lodi, I: 373-385.

Piano E, Talamucci P, 1996. Annual self-regenerating legumes in Meditarranean areas. Proc. 16th General Meeting of the European Grassland Federation, 865-878. Grado (Italy).

Pijl L, 1982. Principles of dispersal in higher plants, 3rd ed. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Porqueddu C, Fiori PP, Nieddu S, 2000. Use of subterranean clover and burr medic as cover crops in vineyards. In: Legumes for Mediterranean forage crops, pastures and alternative uses. Proc. 10th Meeting FAO-CIHEAM, 445-448. Sassari (Italy).

Puri HS, 1979. Evolutionary tendencies in the fruit and seed morphology of Trigonella spp. In: Recent researches in Plant Sciences; Bir SS (Ed.), pp: 154-158. New Delhi, India.

Ramos ME, Robles AB, González-Rebollar JL, 2010. Ley-farming and seed dispersal by sheep: Two methods for improving fallow pasture in semiarid Mediterranean environments. Agr Ecosyst Environ 137: 124-132.

Rodrigues MA, Ferreira IQ, Freitas SL, Pires JM, Arrobas MP, 2015. Self-reseeding annual legumes for cover cropping in rainfed managed olive orchards. Span J Agric Res 13: 1-13.

Rodríguez RG, Márquez RJ, Rebolledo CV, 2001. Determinación del potencial y eficiencia de producción de semillas de Cedrela odorata L. y su relación con caracteres morfométricos del fruto. Foresta Veracruzana 3: 23-26.

Roggero PP, Porqueddu C, 1999. The agronomic purpose of evaluation: relating nurseries to field situation. In: Genetic resources of Mediterranean pasture and forage legumes; Bennet SJ, Cocks PS (Eds.), pp: 107-119. Kluwer Acad Publ, York (Australia).

Russi L, Cocks PS, Robertis EH, 1992. The fate of legume seeds eaten by sheep from a Mediterranean grassland. J Appl Ecol 29: 772-778.

Scheidel A, Krausmann F, 2011. Diet, trade and land use: a socio ecological analysis of the transformation of the olive oil system. Land Use Policy 28: 47-56.

Siles G, Torres JA, Ruíz-Valenzuela L, García-Fuentes A, 2016. Germination trials of annual autochthonous leguminous species of interest for planting as herbaceous cover in olive groves. Agr Ecosyst Environ 217: 119-127.

Small E, 2011. Alfalfa and relatives: evolution and classification of Medicago. NRC Research Press, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Small E, Jomphre M, Brookes B, 1991. Medicago truncatula f. laxicycla (Leguminosae), a new taxon with loose fruit coiling promoting rapid germination of the fruit-retained seeds. Plant Syst Evol 174: 37-46.

Sokoloff DD, Lock JM, 2005. Tribe Loteae. In: Legumes of the world; Lewis G, Schrirer B Mackinder B & Lock M (Eds.), pp: 455-465. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London.

Tamhane AC, 1979. A comparison of procedures for multiple comparisons of means with unequal variances. J Am Stat Assoc 74: 471-480.

Taylor GB, Revell CK, 2002. Seed softening, imbibition time, and seedling establishment in yellow serradella. Aust J Agr Res 53: 1011-1018.

Twisk JWR, 2003. Applied longitudinal data analysis for epidemiology. Cambridge University Press. Cambridge, UK.

Uzun F, Aydin I, 2004. Improving germination rate of Medicago and Trifolium species. Asian J Plant Sci 3: 714-717.

Zeng LW, Cocks PS, Kailis SG, 2005. Softening of impermeable seed of six Mediterranean annual legumes on the soil surface and buried beneath and soil surface. Seed Sci Technol 33: 551-561.

Zhu Y, Sheaffer CC, Barnes DK, 1996. Forage yield and quality of six annual Medicago species in the north-central USA. Agron J 88: 955-960.

How to Cite
SilesG., García-Zafra Álvaro, TorresJ. A., García-FuentesA., & Ruiz-ValenzuelaL. (2017). Germination success under different treatments and pod sowing depths in six legume species present in olive groves. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 15(2), e1007.
Plant protection