Smoke water and heat shock influence germination of shortgrass prairie species

Yi Fang Chou, Robert D. Cox, David B. Wester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Smoke or heat from fire can act as a cue that affects seed germination. We examined germination responses of 10 plant species (six forbs, two shrubs, two grasses) native to the southern High Plains in the United States, to smoke, heat, and their interaction in a laboratory experiment. Smoke treatments were applied by soaking seeds in 1:5, 1:10, or 1:100 (v/v) Regen 2000H smoke solution for 20 h. Heat treatments were applied by placing seeds in an oven at 50uC or 80uC for 5 min. Nine species responded to smoke, heat, or both. Results showed that smoke can enhance, inhibit, or not affect seed germination. Germination capacities of Gutierrezia sarothrae (Pursh) Britton &Rusby and Astragalus crassicarpus Nutt. were promoted by 1:5 and 1:100 dilutions of smoke water, respectively; Coreopsis tinctoria Nutt., G. sarothrae, Salvia reflexa Hornem., Digitaria ciliaris (Retz.) Koeler, and Panicum virgatum L. were inhibited by high and/or moderate concentrations of smoke water either in germination percentage or in mean germination time. Germination percentage of Solanum elaeagnifolium Cav. increased following an 80uC heat treatment. Interaction effects between smoke and heat on germination also were detected. Smoke and heat treatments might be useful as management tools for promoting or suppressing specific target species of shortgrass prairie communities in future habitat management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)260-267
Number of pages8
JournalRangeland Ecology and Management
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2012


  • Fire cues
  • Germination
  • Heat
  • Smoke
  • Southern High Plains


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