Promotion of germination of fynbos seeds by plant-derived smoke
Document Type: Journal Article
Author(s): N. A.C. Brown
Publication Year: 1993

Cataloging Information

  • Africa
  • Asteraceae
  • charring
  • chemical compounds
  • chemistry
  • Cupressaceae
  • Ericaceae
  • field experimental fires
  • fire adaptations (plants)
  • fire frequency
  • fynbos
  • germination
  • heat
  • Helichrysum
  • laboratory fires
  • post fire recovery
  • regeneration
  • Restionaceae
  • seed germination
  • seeds
  • smoke effects
  • soil temperature
  • South Africa
  • Syncarpha vestita
  • wildfires
  • International
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 35170
Tall Timbers Record Number: 9465
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Fire File
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


Fynbos is the dominant vegetation type in the Cape floristic region. Periodic fires are a natural phenomenon in fynbos and fire-stimulated seed germination has been reported for a number of fynbos species. Amongst the factors proposed as being directly responsible for the effects of fire are: heat fracturing hard seed coats heat stimulating seed embryos, high-temperature desiccation of seed coats, ethylene and ammonia in smoke stimulating seed germination, and unknown chemical factors in plant-derived smoke and smoke extracts stimulating germination. In this study 28 fynbos species were screened for a seed germination response to smoke and/or smoke extract treatments. Twelve of these species showed a statistically significant enhancement of germination in response to treatment. For the first time smoke per se has been shown to act as a seed germination cue for fynbos species in the Asteraceae, Ericaceae and Restionaceae, and for the first time smoke extracts have been shown to enhance germination in fynbos species of Proteaceae. The most marked response to both smoke and smoke extracts was shown by seed of Syncarpha vestita (syn. Helichrysum vestitum) (Asteraceae). © New Phytologist. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Online Link(s):
Brown, N. A. C. 1993. Promotion of germination of fynbos seeds by plant-derived smoke. New Phytologist, v. 123, p. 575-583.