Dormancy mechanisms act to optimise the timing of seed germination for many seed plants. Fogliani et al. demonstrate that the New-Caledonian shrub Amborella trichopoda exhibits a type of morphophysiological dormancy in which the mechanical resistance of surrounding fruit tissues plays a key role in the initial physiological phase.
Phylogenetic reconstructions, including data from A. trichopoda, suggest that seed germination in early flowering plants was controlled through a morphophysiological mechanism, thus contributing to an eco-physiological description of the common ancestor of the >300, 000 species of flowering plants alive today.
This paper is available with FREE access as an Editor’s Choice from the March issue of Annals of Botany.