Rapid germination of seeds usually is very desirable because the shorter the time required, the less opportunity there is for injury by insects, fungi, or unfavorable weather conditions or for seeds to be eaten by birds or rodents. Rapid seed germination is not always preferred, however, as in temperate regions with harsh winters and for opportunistic species that capitalize on seed banks (Kozlowski et al., 1991, pp. 78-79). Among the most important environmental factors controlling seed germination are water, temperature, light, oxygen, various chemicals and interactions among them. Envi-
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