Zinnia Seed Harvest Time Affects Germination and Plant Growth

in HortScience
Daiichiro MiyajimaFaculty of Agriculture, Shinshu University, Kamiinagun, Nagano 399-45, Japan

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Seeds of `Kumamotonokagayaki'(Kk), `Goldenball' (Gb), and `Purple Gem' (PG) (Zinnia violacea Cav.) were harvested at various stages of maturity and subsequent seed and plant performance were evaluated. The largest increase in ovule or embryo length and width occurred from 0 to 10 days after pollination (DAP). The seed weight was unchanged after 23, 25, and 30 DAP for Kk, Gb, and PG, respectively. The pericarp color was completely green from seeds harvested 20 DAP, while the seeds harvested from 30 to 35 DAP contained a mixture of green and brown seeds. Pericarp color change from green to brown was not a reliable index to harvest seeds. The percentage germination increased from seeds harvested from 10 to 19 DAP for all cultivars. From 20 to 40 DAP, germination was unaffected and >90%, while the rate of germination as measured by days to visible germination decreased slightly. Seeds harvested 20 to 40 DAP produced plants with similar growth and quality characteristics. Considering a 20- to 30-day difference between the first and last floret to open in a capitulum, capitula should be harvested 50 days after anthesis for good seed quality and to prevent shattering.

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