SEED GERMINATION METHODS AND ESTABLISHMENT OF SAW-PALMETTO, SERENOA REPENS, IN SOUTH TEXAS
Saw-palmetto, Serenoa repens, a native of Florida rangelands, and used medicinally in prostate formulations, was evaluated as an alternative crop in semi-arid, subtropical South Texas (Lat. 26°8'N, Long. 97°57'W). Fresh seeds, obtained from the USDA Plant Introduction Station, Miami, Florida, were sown on 28 Oct. 1999 directly into artificial media after using the following pre-germination protocols: (1) fruit 'as is', (2) seed with mesocarp removed (cleaned seed), (3) seed cleaned and rinsed for 24h then imbibed in water for an additional 24h, (4) seed cleaned and rinsed for 24h + 6h acid scarification, then rinsed in water for an additional 18h, (5) seed cleaned and rinsed for 24h + mechanical abrasion, then imbibed for 24h, (6) seed cleaned and rinsed for 24h + GA4,7 (100 μg L-1) soak for an additional 24h, and (7) seed cleaned and rinsed for 24h and a combination of procedures 4 + 5. After 12 weeks, treatments 3 through 7 were, statistically, but not kinetically, similar (50-61% germination), but higher than simply removing the mesocarp (20%) or planting the unprocessed seed (8%). These seedlings were then grown in a greenhouse until 14 March 2001, pooled, and field planted into a Fine, mixed, hyperthermic Vertic Calciustolls and a Coarse-loamy, mixed, hyperthermic Aridic Haplustalfs soil (USDA). Plants were set at 0.9 m within row spacing, in single 36 m rows, trickle irrigated, and supplied with fertilizer each year. First flowering was observed in 2003. The yield per plant and plant height were 229 and 1007 g and 1.6 and 1.9 m, for 2005 and 2006, respectively, for plants grown in the two respective soils (means were different at P < 0.01). Using the above seed germination protocols, proper site selection, agronomic inputs, control of pests (weeds and wildlife), 3.6 t/ha of seed could be expected from a commercial S. repens planting (3588 plants/ha) by the 6th year.
Makus, D.J. (2008). SEED GERMINATION METHODS AND ESTABLISHMENT OF SAW-PALMETTO, SERENOA REPENS, IN SOUTH TEXAS. Acta Hortic. 782, 381-385
scrub-palmetto, Serenoa serrulata, cultivated medicinal plants, seed stratification, antiprostatitic source