Seeds with epicotyl dormancy reside in soil up to 15 months (or longer), being exposed to a sequence of temperatures, before seedlings completely emerge (i.e. with both roots and shoots). Heretofore, few studies have examined precise temperatures, especially in sequences, for promotion of radicle and cotyledon emergence and how they relate to environmental cues in nature. Viburnum is the best known genus to exhibit epicotyl dormancy and, as such, we investigated the Japanese V.
furcatum, hypothesizing a similar kind and level of dormancy. The underdeveloped embryos in mature seeds in October were spatulate shaped, unlike those in other Viburnum species, and they elongated from late June to August of the following year. Radicles emerged after embryo growth until mid-October, followed by cotyledons from mid-April to mid-May. Temperatures required for embryo growth, radicle and cotyledon emergence in the laboratory approximated closely those in the field. Embryo elongation and radicle emergence occurred at warm temperature regimes, and gibberellic acid (GA3) did not substitute for this warm temperature requirements. Following a 120-d cold stratification of seeds with an emerged radicle, shoots emerged from seeds at 10, 15, 15/5, 20/10 and 25/15°C. We identified that seeds of V. furcatum have deep simple epicotyl morphophysiological dormancy like the majority of other Viburnum species. For propagation of the species from seeds, the nearly 2-year period for seedling emergence could be shortened to 8 months: start fresh seeds at 25/15°C (60 d) and then move them through a sequence of 15/5°C (30 d) → 0°C (120 d) → 20/10°C (30 d).