Abstract: The unimbibed crush test, in which seed viability is evaluated by crushing and visual inspection of dry seeds, was compared with tetrazolium staining, an established method of testing seed viability. The unimbibed crush test potentially provides an immediate and rapid method for determining seed viability. Six sets of seed lots, involving the four weed species, velvetleaf, common lambsquarters, redroot pigweed, and smooth pigweed, were tested by each method. For four of the six sets, results from the crush test were statistically indistinguishable from those of the tetrazolium test. For the other two sets of seed lots, the crush test indicated higher viability than did the tetrazolium test. The crush test may be most useful for seed bank surveys in which many samples are typically processed, and most of the variation in density of viable seeds is associated with number of seeds present rather than percentage viability. Its use in more exacting circumstances like seed survival studies requires caution.
Nomenclature: Tetrazolium, 2,3,5 triphenyl tetrazolium chloride; common lambsquarters, Chenopodium album L. #3 CHEAL; redroot pigweed, Amaranthus retroflexus L. # AMARE; smooth pigweed, Amaranthus hybridus L. # AMACH; velvetleaf, Abutilon theophrasti Med. # ABUTH.