Selected aspects of tiny vetch [Vicia hirsuta (L.) Gray S.F.] seed ecology: generative reproduction and effects of seed maturity and seed storage on seed germination

Magdalena Kucewicz, Katarzyna Maćkiewicz, Anna Źróbek-Sokolnik


Vicia hirsuta (L.) Gray S.F. (tiny vetch) is a common and persistent segetal weed. Tiny vetch seeds and pods reach different stages of maturity during the crop harvest season. Some seeds that mature before cereal harvest are shed in the field and deposited in the soil seed bank, while others become incorporated into seed material. The objective of this study was to describe selected aspects of tiny vetch seed ecology: to determine the rate of individual reproduction of vetch plants growing in winter and spring grain crops and to evaluate the germination of seeds at different stages of maturity, subject to storage conditions. The seeds and pods of V. hirsuta were sorted according to their development stages at harvest and divided into two groups. The first group was stored under laboratory conditions for two months. In the autumn of the same year, the seeds were subjected to germination tests. The remaining seeds were stored in a storeroom, and were planted in soil in the spring. The germination rate was evaluated after 8 months of storage. Potential productivity (developed pods and flowers, fruit buds) was higher in plants fruiting in winter wheat than in spring barley. Vetch plants produced around 17-26% more pods (including cracked, mature, greenish-brown and green pods) and around 25% less buds in winter wheat than in spring barley. Immature seeds were characterized by the highest germination capacity. Following storage under laboratory conditions and stratification in soil, mature seeds germinated at a rate of several percent. After storage in a storeroom, seeds at all three development stages broke dormancy at a rate of 72- 75%. The high germination power of tiny vetch seeds stored in a storeroom indicates that this plant can be classified as an obligatory speirochoric weed species.


Vicia hirsuta; tiny vetch; germination; seed maturation; storage; generative reproduction

Full Text:



Journal ISSN:
  • 2300-357X (online)
  • 0065-0951 (print; ceased since 2016)
This is an Open Access journal, which distributes its content under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits redistribution, commercial and non-commercial, provided that the content is properly cited.
The journal is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) and aims to follow the COPE’s principles.
The journal publisher is a member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association.
The journal content is indexed in Similarity Check, the Crossref initiative to prevent scholarly and professional plagiarism.
Polish Botanical Society