Germination Requirements of the Lesser Known Kangaroo Paw and Catspaw Taxa – Progress Report

Progress report on the grant:

Katherine Downes (formerly Baker), Curtin University. 20 Nov 2011

The primary aim of this project is to determine methods of germinating some of the lesser known Kangaroo Paw and Catspaw taxa. This includes investigating the factors that induce germination under natural conditions (in situ) as well as methods of germinating seeds ex situ.

Seed Collection
Sixteen different Anigozanthos (Kangaroo and Catspaw) taxa (see Table 1) have been located in the field and seeds collected. These species occur from Kalbarri National Park in the north to the Fitzgerald River National Park in the south east of the south-western Western Australian botanical province. Seeds of the closely related monospecific genus, Macropidia, were also collected. The germination requirements of many of these species are unknown, especially in species that occur far from Perth such as Anigozanthos kalbarriensis and A. onycis, and in those that are yet to be formally described including A. humilis Lindl. subsp. Badgingarra (S.D. Hopper 7114) and A. viridis Endl. subsp. Cataby (S.D. Hopper 1786).

Table 1
Taxa in which seeds have been collected for initial germination and burial trials.
Anigozanthos bicolor Endl. subsp. bicolor
A. bicolor Endl. subsp. decrescens Hopper
A. bicolor Endl. subsp. extans Hopper
A. flavidus Redoute & DC.
A. gabrielae Domin
A. humilis Lindl. subsp. Badgingarra (S.D. Hopper 7114)
A. humilis Lindl. subsp. chrysanthus Hopper
A. humilis Lindl. subsp. humilis
A. kalbarriensis Hopper
A. manglesii D.Don subsp. manglesii
A. manglesii D.Don subsp. quadrans Hopper
A. onycis A.S.George
A. preissii Endl.
A. viridis Endl. subsp. Cataby (S.D. Hopper 1786)
A. viridis Endl. subsp. viridis
A. manglesii var. x angustifolius Lindl.
Macropidia fuliginosa (Hook.) Druce

Germination Tests on Freshly Collected Seeds
As soon as possible after seed collection (mostly within one month of collection), germination trials were conducted to assess whether seeds were dormant at maturity. Treatments included control, smoke water and nitrate which were set up under continuous light and continuous dark conditions at 15°C. Results indicate that many of these seeds are dormant at maturity, even one species that has previously been described as easy to germinate. Seeds of this species may germinate more readily after seeds have been stored for a while (afterripened).

Burial Trial
For each of these species, seeds were buried in nylon mesh bags (to allow seeds to be exposed to natural moisture and temperature conditions within the soil) at three sites near their respective sites of collection. When exhumed the treatments undertaken on the fresh seeds will be repeated to determine whether burial changes the germination responsiveness of these species.

Heat Treatments
Heat treatments have commenced on all of the above species plus Anigozanthos rufus. Recently Anigozanthos pulcherrimus seeds were also collected for inclusion in future heat trials.

The funding has been fully expended on field expenses such as vehicle costs and accommodation, (while searching for the target species, collecting seeds and then returning to bury them), and laboratory expenses such as petri dishes, filter paper and parafilm.