Germination and Dormancy in Seeds of Sapium sebiferum (Chinese Tallow Tree)


  • Guy N. Cameron
  • Edward G. Glumac
  • Bruce D. Eshelman


Exotic species, Chinese tallow tree, seed germination, seed dormancy


Glasshouse studies were conducted to determine seed germination of Sapium sebiferum (L.) Roxb. (Chinese tallow tree), an exotic woody invader from Asia. This species has spread throughout the southeastern U.S. during the past several decades. This tree invades native coastal prairie and abandoned agricultural areas to create monospecific stands within about 20-25 years. The tree is difficult to control because of high fecundity, root- and stump-sprouting, and few pests or pathogens in the U.S. Scarcity of data on seed dormancy and germination make it difficult to formulate management plans. We planted seeds collected over a 7-year period and found that maximum germination was in January-February and after a storage period of two years; germination was reduced to only 3% by the seventh year of storage. There was significant geographical variation in the proportion of germinated seeds and the rate of germination. Seeds from Florida gave the highest (52%) germination success and germination rate while those from South Carolina had the lowest (6%) germination success and rate.