Handbook of Seed Technology for Genebanks

Volume II. Compendium of Specific Germination Information and Test Recommendations

Germination handbook


Department of Agriculture

School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
University of Reading
Earley Gate, P.O. Box 237
Reading RG6 6AR, UK

Handbooks for Genebanks: No. 3

International Board for Plant Genetic Resources

Rome, 1985

This Handbook of Seed Technology for Genebanks was written by staff of the Seed Science Laboratory at the University of Reading and published by the then IBPGR (now IPGRI) in 1985. Volume II dealt with many of the principles of seed testing which need to be understood when monitoring the viability of seed accessions maintained in gene banks.

Chapters 18 to 75 provided information, family by family, on the germination of individual species of crop plants and sometimes their wild relatives. These chapters are essentially for consultation and reference. Similarly, the final chapter (76) summarised germination test recommendations available for species outside the 58 families covered by Chapters 18 to 75.

Although long out of print, I am pleased that these chapters are now available on the web at


While the information within these chapters is to some extent historic, and in that sense is obviously not up to date, the information summarised remains relevant to the question "how should I promote the full and prompt germination of these seeds"? Moreover, the literature summarised is not well covered in modern information retrieval systems (whereas of course the more recent scientific literature is).

Professor Richard Ellis
03 June 2009

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