Cultivars of bell pepper differ in susceptibility to bud/flower abscission. Reduction in the level of assimilate, and alterations in assimilate partitioning may be involved in the processes leading to bud/flower abscission. Four growth analysis experiments were conducted to determine whether two pepper cultivars differing in susceptibility to stress-induced abscission showed corresponding differences in growth and rates and dry matter partitioning when subjected to shade stress. The reduction in RGR and NAR with shading was significantly greater for the abscission-susceptible `Shamrock' than the more tolerant `Ace'. Partitioning of dry matter to reproductive structures was reduced by shading. There were no cultivar differences in the proportion of dry matter partitioned to young developing leaves. Fully expanded leaves comprised a larger proportion of total dry matter in `Shamrock'. The lower NAR of `Shamrock' under stress may have led to greater bud/flower abscission than `Ace' under shade stress. If preferential partitioning of dry matter to competing structures (developing leaves) is also involved, it was not detected using this technique.
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