Dormancy is one of the terms used to describe a state of seeds, bulbs and buds when they do not grow even though environmental conditions are otherwise favorable for growth. As a TOW the subject of dormancy will be divided into two parts, a) dormancy in seed and b) in bulbs. SEED. Most seed during, and for sometime after, formation in fruit do not germinate and some require special treatments that will be considered below. After-ripening is the time between the formation of a mature seed and its ability to germinate; in some species there is no after-ripening period and seed germinate in the fruit (a highly undesirable feature in most edible fruit where the germinating seed resemble large white nematodes). I have observed that seed of some freesia and alstroemeria taken from green fruit rarely germinate, but they do fairly quickly when taken from dried fruit. Thus the after-ripening period is satisfied in the fruit as it dries. But there may be other cases where germinability increases for some period during seed storage. Forum members can help here. Immature embryo. Seed of many orchids do not germinate unless provided with a medium that nurtures embryo development, without at the same time nurturing the development of fungi and bacteria. We know that orchid seed propagation in sterile culture is a major horticultural industry, but I don't know of other geophyte species/genera where immature embryos are commonly produced (certain hybrids aside, where embryos must be removed from an apparent inhibiting influence of the endosperm). Impermeable/Mechanically Resistant Seed Coats. Many legumes and some grasses have very hard, mechanically resistant, or gas or water impermeable, seed coats. How many geophytes have seed that fall in this category? Is the problem solved by a brief treatment in strong acid, by nicking the seed coats with a scalpel, rolling them in emery cloth, etc? These are the measures that classroom teachers employ to eliminate the seed coat as the barrier to germination. The forum has had several reports from members who recommend not giving up on seed that don't germinate quickly, even in a year or two, and I suspect that they're waiting for the seed coats to be digested or weakened by weathering or soil-borne bugs (microbial and insect). Physiological dormancy. There are embryos that will not grow for internal, mostly unknown, reasonsŠ..this is often termed, physiological dormancy. Methods of breaking physiological dormancy: Chilling. Germination in most alstroemeria is hastened by a 3 to 4 week chilling treatment following imbibition. This is not an uncommon requirement for seed, but I have not been able to find references for other species, particularly in the literature on breeding of bulbs or seed producers where breaking seed dormancy would be emphasized. Hopefully, forum members, particularly seed suppliers, will be able to contribute specific information. Leaching of seed, say for 24 hours, also works well to promote germination in some seed that contain water soluble inhibitors. These are mostly phenolic compounds that turn the leachate brown. I suspect that seed-borne inhibitors might be quite common. Work with lower Mojave desert annuals showed that germination, following precise amounts of rain, is related to leaching of inhibitors. Some of the recommendations for floating seed on water may promote leaching of inhibitors. Although I have not shown that leaching is necessary in alstroemeria I do soak them for 24 hours to ensure imbibition and in the process I remove a lot of phenolics as shown by the dark-brown leachate. Growth Regulators. Gibberellic acid and relatives promote germination of many seed, but I've seen nothing specific for geophytes, nor have i seen literature on applications of cytokinins or ethylene that would apply to us. We need help from PBS members who have been successful with growth regulators. I tried gibberellic acid treatments on alstroemeria seed since some of the species of interest seemed slow to germinate or had low germination percentage; although there was more rapid (but not desirable) elongation of the emerging shoot; at least in the small trials that I ran there was no improvement in germination percentage so I discontinued the trials. Light promotes the germination of some seed and slows the germination of others, but once more I've seen nothing of interest regarding geophytes. As a routine I bury all seed with approximately one inch (2+ cm) of the perlite:///vermiculite/ mix that I use for germination and have observed no difficulties.