Seeds from 12 grass species were studied relative to mode of wetting and time of exposure to water to document interspecific differences in imbibition characteristics. Imbibition causes seeds to become wet, and wet seeds are more detectable to consumers than dry seeds. Thus, germination potential and ability to remain undetected by consumers may represent an important trade-off. Seeds wetted for 0–192 h in vials imbibed water at rates equivalent to seeds wetted by contact with wet paper towels pressing against their seed coat, except for seeds of Avena sativa, which weighed more after wetting in 2-mL vials with free water (0.471 g vs. 0.432 g). Seeds from different species imbibed water at different rates. These data show that interspecific variation in imbibition for seeds is high and support an expectation that imbibition potential can interact with detectability to consumers in an evolutionary trade-off.
Jorgensen, Eric E. and Chesser, Kelly L.
"Interspecific differences in grass seed imbibition,"
Western North American Naturalist: Vol. 60
, Article 10.
Available at: http://scholarsarchive.byu.edu/wnan/vol60/iss4/10