Effect of seed
collection times and pretreatment methods on germination of
Terminalia sericea Burch. ex DC
G. Likoswe1, 2, Joyce P. Njoloma1,
Weston F. Mwase1* and Clement Z.
of Malawi, Bunda College of Agriculture, Department of
Forestry and Horticulture, P. O. Box 219, Lilongwe, Malawi.
Research Institute of Malawi (FRIM), National Tree Seed
Centre, P. O. Box 270, Zomba, Malawi.
*Corresponding author. E-mail:
Tel: (265)1277361. Fax: (265)1277364.
Accepted 2 July, 2008
A nursery experiment was conducted to study the
effects of seed collection times and pretreatment methods on
the germination of Terminalia sericea Burch. ex DC.
(Combretaceae). T. sericea is a multipurpose tree
species occurring in the miombo woodlands whose seedling
production is hampered by very low seed germination rate.
Seeds were subjected to four treatment methods each at four
different duration of exposure; soaking in hot water,
immersion in concentrated sulphuric acid (95%), nicking and
soaking in cold water and fire scorching. First collection
was done when 60% of the fruits were deep-green to brown
while second collection was done when all fruits were
purple-brown to pink-purple. Nicking and soaking in cold
water for 12 h gave the highest cumulative germination
percentage (51%) for the first collection and appears to be
the most feasible and suitable pretreatment method for small
scale farmers than use of sulphuric acid. Soaking in hot
water for 15 and 20 min and immersion in concentrated
sulphuric acid (95%) for 3 and 4 h gave poorest germination
(0%). However, in the second collection, use of concentrated
sulphuric acid for 2 h gave highest germination (14%)
followed by nicking and soaking in cold water for 24 h
(12%). Sulphuric acid is expensive, requires proper handling
techniques; therefore nicking and soaking in cold water for
12 h is being recommended as a cheaper and less hazardous
pretreatment method to improve germination in T.
Germination, miombo, seed collection, seed
pretreatment, Terminalia sericea.