Germination of kiwifruit, Actinidia chinensis, after passage through Silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis
- HortResearch, 412 No 1 Road, RD2, Te Puke, New Zealand
- Horticulture Department, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, P.R. China
Silvereyes, Zosterops lateralis Latham, commonly feed on kiwifruit rejected for export and either stored in open bins at packhouses or in piles ready to be fed to livestock, and may play a role in the spread of wild kiwifruit in native and exotic forest in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. We determined the germination rate and percentage germination of Actinidia chinensis Planch. seed sown (1) after gut passage through silvereyes, (ingested seed), (2) after a standard laboratory fruit pulp removal method (enzyme-extracted seed), (3) as entire fruit and (4) as fruit sections. Ingested and enzyme-extracted seed sown in trays in a glasshouse had nearly identical percentage germination (63.7% and 64.7% respectively) after 71 days. No seed germinated from intact fruit or fruit slices during the experiment. Gut-passage accelerated the germination rate compared with enzyme-extracted seed. This study supports the view that Z. lateralis is involved in dispersing kiwifruit seed into native and exotic forest.