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Changes in potential seed longevity and seedling growth during seed development and maturation in marrow

  • I. Demir (a1) and R. H. Ellis (a1)

Marrow (Cucurbita pepo L.) seed quality was monitored during seed development and maturation in 2 years. Mass maturity (end of the seed-filling phase) was attained 61–63 d and 54 d after anthesis in 1989 and 1990, respectively, when seed moisture contents had declined to 40–48% (wet basis). Considerable dormancy was encountered during standard germination tests, but was overcome by decoating the seeds. The ability of dried, decoated seeds to germinate normally in standard tests reached near maximal values shortly after mass maturity; these values were more or less maintained in seeds from subsequent harvests. Maximum seed longevity in air-dry storage was detected in seeds harvested 24 d (1989) and 26–31 d (1990) after mass maturity. Seedling dry weights 15 d after sowing were greatest for seeds harvested 2–22 d (basal fruits) or 14 d (apical fruits) after mass maturity in 1989, and were positively correlated (P<0.01) with times from seedling emergence to seedling harvest. Consequently in the subsequent year the hypothesis that these differences in seedling dry weight were solely due to differences in times from sowing to emergence was tested (and confirmed). Seedling relative growth rates did not differ with seed harvest date (P>0.25) in 1990, but absolute seedling size did (P<0.005); seeds harvested 21–31 d after mass maturity had the greatest seedling weight and also growth rate (in absolute terms) at any one time after sowing. Decline in seed quality (when assessed by both potential seed longevity and seedling growth) was not detected until the final harvest interval in 1990 (85–90 d after anthesis, 31–36 d after mass maturity). These results for marrow contradict both aspects of the general hypothesis that seed quality is maximal at the end of the seed-filling phase and that viability and vigour begin to decline thereafter.

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Present address Ankara Universitesi, Ziraat Fakultesi, Bahce Bitkileri Bolumu, 06110, Diskapi, Ankara, Turkey

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Seed Science Research
  • ISSN: 0960-2585
  • EISSN: 1475-2735
  • URL: /core/journals/seed-science-research
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