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Am J Bot. 2002 Aug;89(8):1285-8. doi: 10.3732/ajb.89.8.1285.

The 120-yr period for Dr. Beal's seed viability experiment.

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W. J. Beal Botanical Garden, Department of Plant Biology, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48824 USA;


After 120 yr of burial in moist, well-aerated sand, 23 seeds of Verbascum blattaria and two seeds of a Verbascum sp. germinated and produced normal plants (50% germination for Verbascum). After a 6-wk cold treatment, a single seed of Malva rotundifolia germinated also, producing a normal plant (2% germination). Plants were grown to maturity in a greenhouse, and flowering was induced by exposure to a 6-wk cold treatment. Flowers were artificially pollinated to produce seed of both Verbascum blattaria and Malva rotundifolia. The Verbascum sp. failed to set seed. Collected seeds were subsequently germinated, producing normal plants. F(1) seeds of V. blattaria had a germination of 64%. Seeds (6%) of M. rotundifolia germinated after a cold treatment.

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