Influence of pre-sowing seed treatments on the germination of moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.)

S.A. Materechera
Moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.) is widely used by communities in South Africa and for human health and nutrition. Consequently, the demand for seedlings of moringa has increased tremendously. Although moringa can be propagated by cuttings, the use of seeds remains dominant among farming communities because it is easy and cheap. This study investigated the influence of five pre-sowing seed treatments (control, abrasion against sandpaper, soaking in sulphuric acid for 2 min, hot water for 10 min, cold water-for 24 h, and 10% gibberellic acid (GA3), a growth stimulator, for 24 h), on the germination of mature seeds of a local landrace of moringa. Twenty mature seeds of each treatment were germinated on moist filter paper in a petri dish at 27°C using a completely randomised design with five replicates. Germination (protrusion of radicle by 2 mm), the mean germination time (MGT), percentage germination (PG) and time to 50% germination percentage (T50) were calculated and exposed to analysis of variance (ANOVA) after transforming the PG using arcsine. The ANOVA showed significant (P<0.001) influences of pre-sowing treatments on seed germination and time to germination over the untreated control. Physical abrasion of the seed coat improved the mean germination time and total germination, followed by hormone and water treatments. Although the MGT and T50 were lowest in acid-treated seeds, the PG was the lowest among treatments. This may suggest that the acid may have damaged the embryo. The improvement in germination was in the order sandpaper abrasion > gibberellic acid > hot water > cold water > acid > control. These results suggest that the establishment of Moringa oleifera seedlings can be enhanced by pre-treating the seeds. It was concluded that the potential exists for promoting the propagation and cultivation of Moringa oleifera trees through mass production of seedlings using the most efficient pre-sowing seed treatments.
Materechera, S.A. (2017). Influence of pre-sowing seed treatments on the germination of moringa (Moringa oleifera Lam.). Acta Hortic. 1158, 149-158
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1158.18
seed germination, seedling establishment, food security, germination test, seed dormancy, propagation technique

Acta Horticulturae