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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Germination Test Methods
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1 - Main area
2 - Amaranth: D. Brenner, Curator
3 - Maize: M. Millard, Curator
4 - Oilseeds: L. Marek, Curator
5 - Ornamentals: M. Widrlechner, Curator
6 - Vegetables: K. Reitsma, Curator
7 - Seed Testing Papers
8 - General & Historic
Oilseeds: L. Marek, Curator


Oilseeds Curator Group logo

 Click here for information on the seed testing papers we use.
 Contact Curator Laura Marek.


Alliaria  493335  Erysimum 493335
Alyssum  493339  Euphorbia 492112
Asters 491490 Goldbachia 493220
Berteroa 493339 Helianthus (cultivated) 105
Biscutella 490360 Helianthus (wilds) 131
Brassica carinata  178 Hesperis  493335 
Brassica juncea  181

Iberis

492632

Brassica napus  178

Isatis

493339

Brassica nigra  185

Lepidium

493337

Brassica rapa  178

Linum (cultivated)

490309

Brassica repanda  493043

Linum (wilds)

491459

Brassica tournefortii  181 Linum flavum  490360 
Camelina 493220 Linum lewisii  493622
Crambe 493339 Linum tenuifolium  493809
Cuphea 493034 Matthiola  493336
Eruca  493339  Sinapis  493335 
Erucastrum  493339  Thlaspi  493336



ENO: 493335   Alliaria, Erysimum, Hesperis, Sinapis

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

7 days 4 ºC ---
7 days 12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

14 days + 4 ºC ---
7 days 12 hours 30 ºC ON
12 hours 20 ºC OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 7 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Leave at this regimen for 7 days. Place germination boxes back in cold room for at least 14 days - leave until seeds begin to germinate in cold room. Transfer back to 20/30 ºC, as before. Score immediately and at 7, 14, and 21 days. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds.

 

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ENO: 493339   Alyssum, Berteroa, Crambe,
                
      Eruca, Erucastrum, Isatis

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

7 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

20 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed between 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 solution in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature overnight. Prechill at 4 ºC for 7 days. Transfer to germinator set at constant 20 ºC with light for 12 hours and dark for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur weekly after start of test.

 

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ENO: 491490  Asters

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

14 days

4 ºC

---

16 hours

25 ºC

ON

8 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 1 mM GA3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 16 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 8 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of the germination test.

Additional comments: Madia prefers 15 ºC constant and dark environment.

 

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ENO: 490360  Biscutella, Linum flavum

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 3 blotter papers (1 blue, 2 white – in contact with seeds) moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of test.

 

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ENO: 178  Brassica (carinata, napus, rapa)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed between blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") with the following arrangement:

(top) 1 blue paper
seeds
1 white paper
(bottom) 1 blue paper

Let seeds imbibe overnight at room temperature; prechill at 4 ºC for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. (Alternatively, 2 reps of 100 seeds.) The first germination count occurs between 3 and 7 days and the last count is on the 14th day after start of test.

 

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ENO: 181  Brassica (juncea, tournefortii)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

7 days

10 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 solution in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature overnight. Prechill at 10 ºC for 7 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. The first germination count occurs between 3 and 7 days and the last count is on the 14th day after start of the germination test.

 

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ENO: 181  Brassica nigra

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

3 days

10 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 solution in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature overnight. Prechill at 10 ºC for 3 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. The first germination count occurs between 3 and 7 days and the last count is on the 14th day after start of the germination test.

 

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ENO: 493043  Brassica repanda

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 3 blotter papers (2 blue, 1 white – in contact with seeds) moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature overnight. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of test.

 

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ENO: 493220  Camelina, Goldbachia

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

14 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed between blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") with the following arrangement:

(top) 1 blue paper
seeds
1 white paper
(bottom) 1 blue paper

Let seeds imbibe overnight at room temperature; prechill at 4 ºC for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. One germination count occurs 14 days after start of test; no other counts required.

 

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ENO: 493034  Cuphea

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit for 48 hours at room temperature. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle.

Rep and sample size depends on quantity of seed available:
      If > 2500 sds, then 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds.
      If > 1500 & < 2500 , then 4 reps of 25 sd for total of 100.
      If < 1500, then do not run germination test.

Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of test.

 

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ENO: 492112  Euphorbia

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

14 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight hours at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 6 and 16 days after start of test.

 

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ENO: 105  Helianthus (cultivated)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed in folded paper towels1 moistened with tap water and placed in plastic tubs. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle.

Rep and sample size depends on quantity of seed available:
      If > 1500 sds, then 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds.
      If > 1200 & < 1500 , then 4 reps of 25 sd for total of 100.
      If < 1200, then do not run germination test.

Germination counts occur at 5 and 14 days after start of test.

1Seeds are wrapped in 2 sheets of germination toweling and replicated four times. The four replications are rubber banded together and eight accessions are placed in plastic tubs. Towels are kept moist with tap water during the germination period.

 

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ENO: 131  Helianthus (wilds)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

14 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with distilled water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"). Prechill for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle.

Rep and sample size depends on quantity of seed available:
      If > 2000 sds, then 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds.
      If > 1500 & < 2000 , then 4 reps of 25 sd for total of 100.
      If < 1500, then do not run germination test.

Germination counts occur at 5 and 14 days after start of the germination test.

 

 TOP

ENO: 492632  Iberis

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

14 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature for 48 hours. Prechill at 4 ºC for 14 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of germination test.

 

 TOP

ENO: 493337   Lepidium

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

7 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

15 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed between 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 solution in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4") and kept at room temperature overnight. Prechill at 4 ºC for 7 days. Transfer to germinator set at constant 15 ºC with light for 12 hours and dark for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur weekly after start of test.

 

 TOP

ENO: 490309  Linum (cultivated)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle.

Rep and sample size depends on quantity of seed available:
      If > 6000 sds, then 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds.
      If > 2100 & < 6000 , then 4 reps of 25 sd for total of 100.
      If < 2100, then do not run germination test.

Germination count days also vary:
      If L. usitatissimum,
            then
counts occur on 3 and 7 days after start of test.
      Otherwise,
            counts occur at 7, 10, and 14 days after start of test.

 

 TOP

ENO: 491459  Linum (wilds)

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

12 hours

15 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Transfer to germinator set at constant temperature of 15 ºC with light for 12 hours and darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of test.

If seeds do not germinate after 10 days, raise germination temperature to 20 ºC.

 

 TOP

ENO: 493622  Linum lewisii

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

28 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

15 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 28 days. Transfer to germinator set at constant temperature of 15 ºC with light for 12 hours and darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of germiantion test.

If seeds do not germinate after 10 days, raise germination temperature to 20 ºC.

 

 TOP

ENO: 493809  Linum tenuifolium

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

21 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

25 ºC

ON

12 hours

15 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue papers moistened with tap water in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 21 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating alternating between 25 ºC with light for 12 hours and 15 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 sd for total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of germination test.

 

 TOP

ENO: 493336  Matthiola, Thlaspi

Duration

Temperature

Fluorescent Lights

7 days

4 ºC

---

12 hours

30 ºC

ON

12 hours

20 ºC

OFF

Seeds are placed on top of 2 blue blotter papers moistened with 0.1% KNO3 in plastic boxes (5" x 5-1/4"); let sit overnight at room temperature. Prechill at 4 ºC for 7 days. Transfer to germinator with temperatures alternating between 30 ºC with light for 12 hours and 20 ºC in darkness for 12 hours per 24 hour cycle. Replication and sample size: 4 reps of 50 seed each for a total of 200 seeds. Germination counts occur at 7, 14, and 21 days after start of germination test.

 

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Last Modified: 3/8/2012
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