Aim: Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal or Ashwagandha is a valuable medicinal plant having a consistent demand in pharmaceutical industries. Traditionally it is propagated from seeds but it’s germination capacity is poor. So in the present study different methods were considered to sort out a suitable method that can be used for its cultivation in the field of Hazaribag, Jharkhand, India.
Study Design: The study was done in the laboratory and field of Hazaribag, Jharkhand, India.
Place and Duration of Study: Department of Botany, Vinoba Bhave University, Hazaribag, Jharkhand, India. The study was carried out from July 2012 to August 2012 and again from mid June 2013 to August 2013.
Methodology: Different pre germination treatments including 24 hours water soaking, 48 hours water soaking, mechanical scarification, heat treatment at 50 degree Celsius (5 min, 10 min, 15 min) and Gibberellic acid [GA3] (250 µg/l, 500 µg/l, 1000 µg/l) treatments were proposed. The mean germination percentage and the mean germination time were calculated for each of the treatments.
Results: The results revealed that GA3 500 µg/l treated seeds showed increased germination percentage in laboratory (86±0.34%) and in soil (84.1±0.36%) as well as reduced mean germination time in laboratory (5.8±0.41 days) and in soil (10.6±0.17 days). Whereas heat treatment at 50 degree Celsius (5 min, 10 min, 15 min) drastically reduced germination percentage in laboratory (32±0.47%, 16±0.36%, 12±0.31%) and in soil (51±0.49%, 49.6±0.49%, 32.2±0.46%), respectively in wild variety. In cultivated variety the mean germination time was also more (10.36±0.18 days) in laboratory and (13.75±0.50 days) in field as was found for wild variety. Gibberellic acid treatment improved (83.9± 0.95%) in laboratory and (82.9±.64%) in field at 500 µg/l.
Conclusion: Pre treating fresh seeds of Ashwagandha with GA3 500 µg/l for 24 hours before sowing can be adopted to overcome dormancy of seeds with good germination percentage. Likewise mechanical scarification of seeds can also be taken into consideration as an alternative, cost-effective and eco-friendly way to break seed dormancy which has also given favourable results.
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