Time of seed collection and germination in rocket, Erucavesicaria (L.) Cav. (Brassicaceae)

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The increasing importance of rocket Eruca spp. as a leaf and oil crop, and especially as a Fourth Generation vegetable, calls for a better understanding of several basic aspects of its biology. Knowledge on seed germination behaviour is necessary to optimize the management of the plant in the field and in seedbanks. Seed germination of several samples of rocket was assayed in the laboratory under different incubation conditions. Germination in the two studied populations was fairly high, ranging from 68% to 96%. However, remarkable variation was found within one of them according to the date of collection of the sample, ranging from 78–96% for those collected in summer (LG1 and LG2) to 21–29% for that collected in autumn (LG3). Neither time of storage nor GA3 treatments had any significant effect on this low percentage, which could only be significantly improved with scarification, up to 47% by dry heat and up to 66% by immersion in liquid nitrogen. Dormancy and low seed viability probably originating from effects of environmental factors during seed formation and maturation seem to play a role in the low germination percentage of sample LG3.

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