- Malheur Experiment Station
Some wildflower species are particularly affected by seed dormancy, and many require special practices to break dormancy and induce germination. In order for germination to occur, moisture must be able to enter seeds. The process of scarifying seeds can vary from scratching and cracking seed coats, soaking seeds briefly in hot water or extreme acid, or exposing seeds to fire (Seed Scarification in Botany). Within the hundreds of forb species, many have been found to respond better to specific types of scarification. For example, many legumes have hard seed coats and require scarification to break dormancy.
Vernalization subjects moistened seeds to cold temperatures to stimulate germination. This is often used when growers want to plant seed in the spring. Vernalization imitates winter conditions to cause seed germination, as if the seeds were emerging in the springtime (Vernalization). Vernalization can also help overcome endogenous chemical inhibitions. Various forb species require different conditions for vernalization; for example, some species need to be subjected to vernalization longer than others do.