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Published in Scientific Papers. Series B, Horticulture, Vol. LXVII, Issue 1
Written by Thobile MKHWANAZI, Rivoningo UBISI, Lerato KGOTSE, Moses TIMANA, Mmagadima SEBATI, Nicholus MNYAMBO, Zakheleni DUBE

Cancer bush, Sutherlandia frutescens is a Southern African indigenous plant harvested for its medicinal properties against several human illnesses. One major challenge in the sustainable development and cultivation of medicinal plants is seed dormancy that prevents the seeds from germination even when exposed to favourable conditions or when sown in the field. In this study, the effect of various chemical (H2SO), mechanical scarification, physical (hot-water, sodium chloride and cold-water soaking) and biological (Trichoderma harzianum) methods of breaking dormancy were tested. Among all other treatments, hot water was found to be moderately effective in breaking dormancy resulting in 48% seed germination, which is still below the minimum recommended standard germination percentage of 80%. However, the mechanical scarification was the most effective method, resulting in germination percentages of 100%. The other seed treatment methods resulted in less than 10% germination. In conclusion, cancer bush seeds exhibited physical dormancy and the mechanical scarification method is recommended for increased seed germination and germination speed of cancer bush, thus good for field establishment and uniform plant population production.

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