Wiregrass (Aristida stricta Michx.) is a keystone species in fire dependent pine ecosystems throughout the southeastern United States and is often re-introduced into sites via broadcast seeding. Using seed lots of high quality may enhance these restoration efforts. However, parameters that determine seed lot quality, such as viability, have not been studied in detail. Moreover, methods for determining wiregrass seed viability have not been reported. Here we describe a new method for determining wiregrass seed viability using forceps and a microscope. This method is relatively rapid, requires no specialized training in seed biology or chemical viability assay analysis, and is as accurate and precise as chemical viability assay methods. The new forceps press test approach can be exploited by wiregrass propagators and practitioners to gain a better understanding of seed lot quality that may augment their restoration efforts.
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