The response of seeds from 23 wild plant species to a range of seed enhancing treatments was studied. We tested the hypothesis that sensitivity of the 23 species to these compounds is related to their ecological niche. The three ecological niches considered were open land, open-pioneer and woodland. Hence, the germination of a species is likely adapted to different light conditions and other environmental signals related to the niche. As representatives of environmental signals, the effects of smoke-related compounds (karrikinolide, KAR1), nitrate and plant growth regulator (gibberellic acid, GA3) on germination were studied. Seeds were exposed to these additives in the imbibition medium; all described as germination cues. We also investigated the effect of light regimes and additives on germination parameters, which included final germination, germination rate and uniformity of germination. Seeds were placed to germinate under three light conditions: constant red light, constant darkness and 12 h white light photoperiod. We observed inhibition by KAR under light in some species, which may have ecological implications. The results showed that no single treatment increased the germination of all the tested species, rather a wide variation of responsiveness of the different species to the three compounds was found. Additionally, no interaction was found between responsiveness to compounds and ecological niche. However, species in the same ecological niche and dormancy class showed a similar responsiveness to light. Species that share a similar environment have similar light requirements for germination, while differences exist among species in their responsiveness to other germination cues.
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