An efficient and improved protocol for in vitro seed germination and seedling development technique of Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal have been developed. Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium containing 3.0 mg l-1 gibberellic acid (GA3) and 3.0 mg l-1 Kinetin (Kn) was found effective for maximum germination percentage (92.67), germination rate (1.83), germination value (56.07) and seedling vigour index (875.73). Whereas minimum days required for germination (8.30), maximum germination speed (6.15), shoot length (7.72 cm), weight of shoot (4.48 g), weight of root (1.83 g), fresh weight of seedlings (5.91 g), dry weight of seedlings (0.78 g), number of leaves per plantlet (5.57) and plant height (8.79 cm) was recorded in MS medium containing 5.0 mg l-1 GA3 and 5.0 mg l-1 Kn. The present protocol clearly describes that W. somnifera (L.) Dunal seeds should be germinated first in MS medium containing 3.0 mg l-1 GA3 and 3.0 mg l-1 Kn and after that the completely germinated seeds should be subcultured in MS medium supplemented with growth hormones 5.0 mg l-1 GA3 and 5.0 mg l-1 Kn for seedling development.
Key words: In vitro, seed germination, seedling development, Withania, medicinal herb.
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