Ecology, Biogeography, and, Evolution of Dormancy and Germination

2nd Edition - February 20, 2014

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  • Authors: Carol Baskin, Jerry Baskin
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124166837
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124166776

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The new edition of Seeds contains new information on many topics discussed in the first edition, such as fruit/seed heteromorphism, breaking of physical dormancy and effects of inbreeding depression on germination. New topics have been added to each chapter, including dichotomous keys to types of seeds and kinds of dormancy; a hierarchical dormancy classification system; role of seed banks in restoration of plant communities; and seed germination in relation to parental effects, pollen competition, local adaption, climate change and karrikinolide in smoke from burning plants. The database for the world biogeography of seed dormancy has been expanded from 3,580 to about 13,600 species. New insights are presented on seed dormancy and germination ecology of species with specialized life cycles or habitat requirements such as orchids, parasitic, aquatics and halophytes. Information from various fields of science has been combined with seed dormancy data to increase our understanding of the evolutionary/phylogenetic origins and relationships of the various kinds of seed dormancy (and nondormancy) and the conditions under which each may have evolved. This comprehensive synthesis of information on the ecology, biogeography and evolution of seeds provides a thorough overview of whole-seed biology that will facilitate and help focus research efforts.

Key Features

  • Most wide-ranging and thorough account of whole-seed dormancy available
  • Contains information on dormancy and germination of more than 14,000 species from all the continents – even the two angiosperm species native to the Antarctica continent
  • Includes a taxonomic index so researchers can quickly find information on their study organism(s) and
  • Provides a dichotomous key for the kinds of seed dormancy
  • Topics range from fossil evidence of seed dormancy to molecular biology of seed dormancy
  • Much attention is given to the evolution of kinds of seed dormancy
  • Includes chapters on the basics of how to do seed dormancy studies; on special groups of plants, for example orchids, parasites, aquatics, halophytes; and one chapter devoted to soil seed banks
  • Contains a revised, up-dated classification scheme of seed dormancy, including a formula for each kind of dormancy
  • Detailed attention is given to physiological dormancy, the most common kind of dormancy on earth


Plant scientists; ecologists; evolutionary biologists; plant and seed physiologists; researchers in crop science, agriculture, plant conservation strategies, and plant development, libraries, seedbank and seed testing facilities, and those propagating wild plants; and academics and students in these areas.

Table of Contents

  • Preface to the Second Edition

    Preface to First Edition

    Chapter 1. Introduction


    Seed Germination Ecology

    A Book on Seed Dormancy and Germination from a Different Perspective

    Chapter 2. Ecologically Meaningful Germination Studies


    Definition of Seed Dormancy

    Guidelines for Laboratory Studies on Germination Ecology

    Germinating Seeds You Know Nothing About

    Chapter 3. Types of Seeds and Kinds of Seed Dormancy


    Types of Seeds

    Classification of Seed Dormancy

    Overview of Classes of Seed Dormancy

    Chapter 4. Germination Ecology of Seeds with Nondeep Physiological Dormancy


    Discovery of Dormancy Cycles

    Changes in the State of Dormancy

    The Dormancy Continuum

    Environmental Factors Causing Changes in Dormancy States

    Chapter 5. Germination Ecology of Seeds with Morphophysiological Dormancy


    Levels of Morphophysiological Dormancy

    Chapter 6. Germination Ecology of Seeds with Physical Dormancy


    Germination Phenology

    Internal Moisture Conditions of Seeds

    Artificial Softening of Water-Impermeable Seed (or Fruit) Coat

    Germination Requirements of Permeable Seeds

    Environmental Control of Breaking Physical Dormancy

    Long-Term Storage of Permeable Seeds

    Seeds with Physical and Physiological Dormancy

    Chapter 7. Germination Ecology of Seeds in the Persistent Seed Bank


    Aerial Seed Banks

    Soil Seed Banks

    Longevity of Seeds in the Soil

    Impact of Animals on Water-Permeable Seeds Entering the Seed Bank

    What Can Happen to Seeds in the Soil?

    Effects of Seed Banks on Populations

    Persistence of Communities

    Restoration of Plant Communities

    Chapter 8. Variation in Seed Dormancy and Germination within and between Individuals and Populations of a Species


    Inheritance of Seed Dormancy

    Inheritance of Dormancy-Breaking and Germination Characteristics

    Variation in Seed Germination Responses

    Factors that Cause Preconditioning Effects

    Changes In Seeds as a Result of the Preconditioning Environment

    Variation in Seeds within a Species

    Cleistogamy, Amphicarpy, Geocarpy and Seed Germination Ecology

    Chapter 9. A Geographical Perspective on Germination Ecology: Tropical and Subtropical Zones


    Evergreen Rainforests

    Tropical Mountains

    Semievergreen Tropical Forests

    Tropical Deciduous Forests

    Tropical Dry Woodlands, Natural Savannas and Grasslands

    Hot Semideserts and Deserts

    Chapter 10. A Geographical Perspective on Germination Ecology: Temperate and Arctic Zones


    Sclerophyllous Woodlands with Winter Rain

    Moist Warm Temperature Woodlands

    Deciduous (Nemoral) Forests

    Steppes or Grasslands of the Temperate Zones

    Semideserts and Deserts with Cold Winters

    Boreal Coniferous and Temperate Subalpine Zones

    Arctic and Temperate-Zone Alpine Tundra


    Chapter 11. Germination Ecology of Plants with Specialized Life Cycles and/or Habitats


    Parasitic Plants

    Myco-Heterotrophic Plants Other Than Orchids


    Carnivorous Plants

    Aquatic (Nonsaline) Plants


    Psammophytes of Nonsaline Soils

    Chapter 12. Biogeographical and Evolutionary Aspects of Seed Dormancy


    World Biogeography of the Kinds of Seed Dormancy

    Theoretical Considerations on the Evolution of Seed Dormancy

    Paleoclimate as a Background for the Evolution of Seed Dormancy

    Fossil History of Seeds as it Relates to Dormancy

    Seed Dormancy and Phylogenetic Position of Family

    Seed Dormancy and Presumed age of Plant Families

    Seed Dormancy and Martin’s Family Tree of Seed Phylogeny

    Type of Embryo and Presumed age of Plant Families

    Origins and Relationships of Seed Dormancy Classes


    Taxonomic Index

    Subject Index

Product details

  • No. of pages: 1600
  • Language: English
  • Copyright: © Academic Press 2014
  • Published: February 20, 2014
  • Imprint: Academic Press
  • eBook ISBN: 9780124166837
  • Hardcover ISBN: 9780124166776

About the Authors

Carol Baskin

Over 50 years’ experience in seed germination ecology, biogeography, and evolution of seed dormancy and germination. Dr Baskin has a Ph.D. in biology from Vanderbilt University and has held several teaching posts in the fields of agricultural sciences and biology in the US and Europe. Dr Baskin’s current research at the University of Kentucky focuses on the life cycle and germination ecology of woody and herbaceous species of angiosperms; biology, conservation, and geographical ecology of plant taxa endemic to cedar (limestone) glades of unglaciated eastern United States; and plant geography of Kentucky. She has written several publications on the subject of seed germination, most notably Seeds: Ecology, biogeography, and evolution of dormancy (Elsevier), in collaboration with her husband Dr Jerry M. Baskin.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

Jerry Baskin

Dr Baskin received his Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in June 1967 and after 1 year of postdoctoral work at the University of Florida joined the University of Kentucky (UK) Biology faculty in 1968. He was promoted to Full Professor in 1981and retired from UK in June 2011. Almost all of his publications are co-authored with Carol C. Baskin. He has approximately 520 journal articles plus 14 book chapters and 10 publications in symposium and conference proceedings. The first edition of “Seeds” was published in 1998 and the second edition in 2014. The book on rock outcrops and barrens (co-edited with J. Fralish and R. Anderson) was published in 1999.

Affiliations and Expertise

School of Biological Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, USA

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  • Svetlana M. Fri Oct 29 2021

    The Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and, Evolution of Dormancy and Germination

    This is a must-have, if you need to make out what seed dormancy really is and how seeds behave. It is very elaborate, difficult to read without chemical or biological education. But it is one of the most comprehensive, detailed and up-to-date overview of seed studies, providing an accurate understanding of seed biology. The structure of the book is also helpful in navigating this enormous amount of information.