I recently studied about plant physiology for a test. Strangely, there was this question which I had no idea how to approach.

The question is, Which seed will germinate first?

a) Castor
b) Wheat
c) Mung( Vigna radiata )

The answer is (c). I want to know how do we determine if which seed will germinate first? Which factors does it depend upon?

  • $\begingroup$ Mung germinates over night, doesn't it ? Think of sprouts.. $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Jan 8, 2016 at 9:01
  • $\begingroup$ It does. But that wouldn't be the correct way to answer. Right? I mean, It'll be pure hunch and no scientific reason. $\endgroup$ Jan 9, 2016 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ Yes that's true. But maybe the question is just targetting that general knowledge. Anyway, it isn't a very good question. Typical of exams that just test your cramming capacity :( $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Jan 10, 2016 at 3:12
  • $\begingroup$ It was asked in a model test for a medical institution ug admission. There was a separate gk section. This question was in the bio section :P $\endgroup$ Jan 10, 2016 at 17:24
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Catcha ! AIPMT/AIIMS treachery ;) $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Jan 11, 2016 at 3:27

1 Answer 1


You'd have to know the individual germination times for each family. I'm linking a table for vegetables, but it doesn't include the three plants you're looking at. A google search for each one individually shows that yes Mung does have the shortest germination time. It's a memorization question.

To add to that here is a paper where they review variation times between over 600 seeds and find that the variation in time is mainly constrained within families.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ I'm wondering if there's a more general answer, like if it's a general property of that subfamily of Fabaceae to have fast germination times, so they wouldn't expect students to know the germination times for those three exact plants but rather general patterns of germination across grasses, Euphorbs, and legumes $\endgroup$
    – C_Z_
    Jan 7, 2016 at 18:06
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @CactusWoman excellent point, I found a paper that shows you are correct and edited appropriately. $\endgroup$
    – Nathan
    Jan 7, 2016 at 18:16

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