Threehorn bedstraw is an important dicotyledonous weed in southern Australia that is particularly difficult to control in pulse crops. Knowledge of the germination ecology of this weed would facilitate development of effective weed-control programs. Experiments were conducted to study the germination of two populations, Roseworthy Campus (RC) and Yorke Peninsula (YP), of threehorn bedstraw from South Australia. In the absence of chilling, seeds germinated only in the darkness. Germination was considerably higher under an alternating day/night temperature range of 13/7 C compared with 20/12 or 25/15 C day/night temperature. Germination was inhibited by light; however, when seeds were subsequently transferred to complete darkness they germinated readily. Potassium nitrate (0.005 M KNO3) and gibberellic acid (0.001 M GA3) stimulated germination in the darkness in both populations. This concentration of KNO3 increased germination of the RC and YP populations from 26 and 37% to 56 and 68%, respectively; however, higher concentrations of KNO3 inhibited germination. GA3 added in combination with KNO3 further increased germination to 81 and 94%, respectively. Germination was also promoted by cold-stratification treatment (5 C). Complete germination (100%) was achieved within 4 wk of cold stratification, when seeds were incubated in sand. In the field, seedling recruitment of both populations was higher under minimum tillage (25 to 27%) than no-till (15 to 18%) conditions, reflecting greater exposure of seeds to light under no-till systems.
Nomenclature: Threehorn bedstraw, Galium tricornutum Dandy, GALTC.