Abstract: Vaccinium vitis-idaea L. (Ericaceae) and Vaccinium myrtilloides Michx. are important agronomic and ecological species. Several food products are derived from these species throughout Europe and North America, and they are becoming important plants for land reclamation. Several studies have indicated that stratification can be beneficial for the germination of Vaccinium seed species including V. vitis-idaea and V. myrtilloides; however, the recommended stratification lengths vary from 12 wk to 10 mo. This study investigated the optimal time for cold stratification of V. vitis-idaea and V. myrtilloides seeds collected in Alberta, Canada. Seed treatments consisted of unstratified as well as 2, 4, and 8-wk stratification periods. Our results indicate that the 8-wk cold stratification period provided the highest mean germination and uniformity for V. vitis-idaea, but mean germination time was longer compared to the other stratification treatments. Moreover, 8-wk stratified V. myrtilloides seeds showed the lowest average germination percentage and the least amount of synchronization. Similar studies involving V. vitis-idaea presented comparable findings to this study but further studies are required to determine stratification strategies for V. myrtilloides. Further research of V. myrtilloides seed characteristics, such as dormancy, may be beneficial for gaining a better understanding of the effects of stratification on germination.
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