Laboratory and field experiments were conducted to determine the effects of several environmental factors on seed germination and seedling emergence of the invasive weed, apple of Peru. The anatomy of the seed was also investigated in this study. The anatomy of the seed is similar to that of an eggplant (Solanum melongena L.) seed. The seed is albuminous, and consists of a seed coat, endosperm, and an embryo. The seed coat, which consists of both outer and inner integuments, is relatively thick. Fresh and dry stored seeds exhibited strong dormancy. Hot water treatment did not affect the seed germination in the light, but significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the germination rate in the dark. Dry-heat treatment had no significant effect on seed germination in the dark, but it significantly (P < 0.05) increased the germination rate in the light. Cold stratification alone did not influence seed germination under constant temperature (25 C) but affected it under alternating temperature (25–15 C). However, a combination of warm and cold stratification produced significant (P < 0.05) germination in the dark as well as in the light. In addition, the effect of warm stratification followed by cold stratification was more pronounced in the dark than in the light. Gibberellin A3 (GA3) (10–3 and 10–4 M) treatments significantly (P < 0.05) increased the seed germination rate compared with that of the control. Emergence rate was maximum for seeds placed on the soil surfaces; no seedling emergence occurred when seeds were placed at a depth of 5 cm.
Nomenclature: Apple of Peru, Nicandra physalodes (L.) Pers.