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  • 1 Department of Vegetable Crops, University of California, Davis, CA 95616-8631

Brassica crops have an extended flowering period due to both progressive development within a given raceme and variability among multiple racemes. Early harvest can result in poor seed quality due to immaturity, while delayed harvest may sacrifice yield due to shattering. To characterize the development of seed quality, we measured maturity indices and conducted vigor tests on hybrid red cabbage (Brassica oleracea var capitata) seed harvested weekly starting 33 days after full bloom (DAF). Viability and germination rate increased from the top to the bottom of the raceme, and were maximal by 40 and 48 DAF, respectively. After 48 DAF, there was little difference in seed quality due to position on the raceme. Seed dry weight also reached a plateau by 48 DAF, when rapid dehydration began. Sensitivity of germination to inhibition by reduced water potential or abscisic acid (ABA) was assessed using a threshold model based upon germination rates. Germination became less sensitive to both factors and more uniform during maturation, with -1.0 MPa or 50 μM ABA being required to inhibit germination by 50% after about 48 DAF Seed ABA content reached a peak of 10 μg/g dry wt. by 40 DAF, then declined linearly to 1.5 μg/g dry wt. by 68 DAF Overall, optimal seed quality was attained at 54 DAF