Biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage have become serious weeds of several crops within the northern Great Plains of the United States and Canada. Both species are prolific seed producers but little is known about their potential for developing persistent seedbanks. Field studies were conducted to determine the influence of duration (7, 8, 11, 19, 20, and 23 mo) and depth of burial (0, 2.5, and 10 cm) on biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage seed viability and decay. Biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage seeds were buried in September 2003 (burial 1) and September 2004 (burial 2). In burial 1, biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage seed viability was 65 and 66%, respectively, after 23 mo of burial. In burial 2, biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage seed viability was 8 and 3%, respectively, after 23 mo of burial. The difference was likely because of higher soil moisture during burial 2, which promoted seed decay. Controlled-environment studies sought to determine the influence of stratification environments (freezing, chilling, and freeze–thaw) followed by exposure to diurnally fluctuating temperatures on germination of biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage seeds. Stratified biennial wormwood seed germination was 95% or greater when incubated in fluctuating day/night temperatures of 37/20 or 37/25 C. Stratified lanceleaf sage seeds from freezing and chilling environments did not differ in germination following incubation in fluctuating temperatures and averaged 56 and 55%, respectively. Germination of stratified lanceleaf sage seeds from the freezing and thawing environment was higher than 50% during the thawing cycle, suggesting the possibility of early season emergence of this species. Our study indicates that biennial wormwood and lanceleaf sage have the potential to develop a seedbank that can persist for more than 2 yr. High moisture levels in the soil seedbank can lead to reduced seed survival.
Nomenclature: Biennial wormwood, Artemisia biennis Willd. ARTBI; lanceleaf sage, Salvia reflexa Hornem. SALRE.