seed dormancy

Steve Hinkson sphinkson at
Fri Oct 8 05:31:25 EST 1999

While there are factors that make seeds "more dormant"  I don't know of any
digestive acids or enzymes that have this effect, either.

Kathleen Archer wrote:

> Dear Plant Folks,
> I was asked the following question by our animal physiologist, and I pose
> the question to you.
> "I have a question about seed dispersal by vertebrate vectors. I know that
> passage through the digestive system is, for some species, necessary to
> break dormancy... that is, it enhances their sproutability. I'm wondering
> if  the digestive enzymes or  low pH ever induces seeds to
> into a more dormant state while still keeping them viable.
> If a seed is dispersed to an unknown, unpredictable environment via the
> digestive system of animal, it may make sense for the seed to be in a
> dormant state, more protected from dessication and mechanical insult. The
> chemical environment of the vector could then serve as a cue to "hunker
> down" in preparation for an unpredictable environment at the other end.
> Do seeds ever respond this way?"
> I have never heard of an example of this, but thought someone out there
> might know if such a thing exists.
> Kathleen Archer

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