Laboratory experiments were carried out to determine the effect of several environmental factors on seed germination of feather fingergrass, one of the most significant emerging weeds in warm regions of the world. Seed germination occurred over a broad range of temperatures (17/7, 25/10, and 30/20 C), but germination being highest at alternating temperatures of 30/20 C under both 12 h light/12 h dark and 24 h dark conditions. Although seed germination was favored by light, some seeds were capable of germinating in the dark. Increasing salt stress decreased seed germination until complete inhibition was reached at 250-mM sodium chloride. Germination decreased from 64 to 0.7% as osmotic potential decreased from 0 to -0.4 MPa, and was completely inhibited at -0.6 MPa. Higher seed germination (>73%) was observed in the range of pH 6.4 to 8 than the other tested pH levels. Heat shock had a significant effect on seed germination. Germination of seeds placed at 130 C for 5 min was completely inhibited for both dry and presoaked seeds. The results of this study will help to develop protocols for managing feather fingergrass, and to thus avoid its establishment as a troublesome weed in economically important cropping regions.
European heliotrope (Heliotropium europaeum L.) is an important weed in semiarid and arid Australia, due to its toxicity to livestock and its ability to out-compete crops for water and soil nutrients. It is an ephemeral species populations appear in high densities when conditions are favourable, but seeds remain dormant in the soil seedbank for extended periods of time. This study aimed to identify environmental factors that promoted the germination of this weed and factors that de-vitalise seeds. Seeds were collected from the Australian semiarid zone, at Nanya Research Station, New South Wales. The effects on seed germination and seedling emergence of H. europaeum of alternating temperature, photoperiod, drought, salinity, pH range, heat shock combined with smoke exposure, and burial depth were investigated. The highest germination rate was observed under the highest temperature regime, 30/20°C, under a photoperiod of 12 h light and 12 h dark. The weed germinated under moderate osmotic stress, but the highest germination occurred in the control treatment (no osmotic stress). The effect of salinity and pH on percentage germination was not significant. The effect of the heat shock and smoke treatment significantly reduced seed germination, with germination inhibited when seeds were exposed to 100°C for 3 min. Burial depth had a significant effect on seedling emergence, with a burial depth of 0.5 cm reducing the germination by