Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Master of Science (Biological Sciences)


School of Science

First Supervisor

Will Stock

Second Supervisor

Kristina Lemson

Third Supervisor

Katherine Downes


The Ericaceae in South West Australia contains species with difficult to germinate seeds, including many species with deep intractable dormancy. A better understanding of seed biology and species specific dormancy, and germination mechanisms is required to overcome these difficulties. Land clearing, salinity and disease has resulted in over 125 species within 15 genera being listed as rare, highly restricted, threatened and endangered (Western Australian Herbarium 1998–). The present study examined the seed biology of eight species of Ericaceae native to Western Australia, exploring fruit and seed morphology, dormancy and germination. Cold and warm stratification was used in combination with gibberellic acid to classify dormancy. Among the two distinct fruit types that occur within the Ericaceae separate patterns of dormancy were found. Seeds held within a dehiscent capsule were found to possess non-deep and intermediate physiological dormancy whilst those within an indehiscent drupe possessed physiological and morphophysiological dormancy. Oxygen and nitric oxide enriched atmospheres, removal of seeds from endocarps and propagation from cuttings provided potential avenues for the propagation of study species.

Included in

Biology Commons