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Samuel Contreras, Mark A. Bennett, and David Tay

The availability of water to the mother plant during seed production is important because it affects seed yield and quality of many species. In general, most of the research on water requirements of different crops has focused on optimizing yield

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Margaret Pooler and P.W. Simon

Garlic (Allium sativum L.) is an obligate apomict which reproduces almost exclusively by means of division of underground cloves or by propagation of topsets. The occurrence of viable, sexually-derived garlic seeds is rare. In order to assess the factors that limit garlic seed production, variables that affect flower initiation and development were studied. The effects on flowering of daylength, growing temperature, bulb and plant cold storage conditions, and cultivar were examined by observing flower development in plants grown under controlled greenhouse conditions. Correlations between isozyme markers and flowering, fertility, and morphological markers will be presented for a diverse collection of garlic clones, including six sexually-derived garlic plants.

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Daiichiro Miyajima

The causes of low production of seeds capable of producing double-flowered plants and of high production of seeds capable of producing single-flowered plants were investigated in zinnias (Zinnia violaceu Cav.). Poor pollination was a major cause of the low seed set. A tubular floret produced abundant pollen; however, the pollen flow to ray stigmas was limited due to the infrequent visitation by pollinators. Moreover, in the double-flowered capitula, newly opened ray petals overlapped on the pistils that unfolded the previous day. These phenomena were considered to cause low seed set in double-flowered plants. Actually, capitula with more tubular florets produced more seeds than those with fewer tubular florets. Pollen germination and plants near zinnias had additional possible influences on seed production of double-flowered zinnias.

Open access

Chyun-Chien Liang, Tzu-Yao Wei, and Der-Ming Yeh

length (1.9–2.0 cm). Thirty styles were measured from each cultivar to determine the average style length. An additional six reciprocal crosses were designed to determine whether the style length of the female parent could affect seed production. These

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Susan M. Stieve* and David Tay

Seeds of herbaceous ornamental accessions conserved by the USDA National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) are traditionally produced in summer field cages with honey bees (Apis mellifera) when pollinators are required. Efficient methods to produce high-quality seed in greenhouses may allow for year-round seed production. Flower quantities and effects of pollinators on number and weight of seed produced were studied in field cages and greenhouses at the Ornamental Plant Germplasm Center in 2003 in a randomized complete-block experiment. Honey bees, bumblebees (Bombus impatiens), or blue bottle flies (Diptera calliphoridae) were used as pollinators. Field cages and greenhouse compartments with no pollinator were controls. Cultivars used were Antirrhinum majus `Gum Drop', Coreopsis tinctoria `Plains Bicolor', Dianthus chinensis `Carnation' (NPGS accession NSL 15527), Rudbeckia hirta `Indian Summer', and Tagetes patula `Jaguar'. Seeds were harvested, cleaned, weighed, and 100-seed weights calculated. On average Antirrhinum, Dianthus, Rudbeckia and Tagetes produced more flowers in greenhouses, Coreopsis produced more flowers in the field. Coreopsis and Rudbeckia produced more seed per flower on average with field pollination by honey bees, Antirrhinum and Dianthus produced most with bumblebees in the field, and Tagetes produced most with blue bottle flies in the greenhouse. Each genus had similar 100-seed weights on average in all treatments. Results show pollinators other than honey bees are useful for herbaceous ornamental seed production and that seed production in greenhouses may be an alternative method for seed production of herbaceous ornamentals.

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Maria M. Jenderek and Richard M. Hannan

Diverse garlic germplasm has proven to be essential for production of true seed. Yet, fertile accessions in garlic germplasm collections have not been characterized for breeders and researchers, and information on morphological characteristics associated with seed producing plants is very limited. The objective of this study was to evaluate reproductive characteristics and true seed production capacity in the USDA garlic germplasm collection. Most stable traits, such as flower stem appearance, opening ability of spathe, level of difficulty to remove bulbils, tepal color, umbel shape, and the number of flowers per umbel, were similar across populations evaluated. Other characteristics including position of stigma, tepal closure, pollen viability, time of flowering, scape senescence rate, and number of seeds produced by individual plants varied within accession evaluated. Of 47 accessions, 19 produced true seeds (from 48.5 to 1.5 seeds per plant) in the Central Valley of California. Seed production in the germplasm evaluated is adequate to initiate garlic breeding projects.

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S.C. Schank, D.A. Diz, and D.S. Wofford

Five nutrient solutions were evaluated in the greenhouse to determine which solutions would allow detached culms of Pennisetum to produce seed. The genotypes tested originated from the hybridization of Pennisetum glaucum L. (Pearl millet) × P. pennisetum Schum. (elephantgrass). The solutions were water, Hoagland's, sucrose, sucrose + hydroxyquinoline sulfate (HQ), and Hoagland's + sucrose + HQ. Neither the water nor the Hoagland's solution supported high seed set. Although the sucrose solution enhanced seed production, the seeds were low in weight and did not germinate well. The best nutrient solutions were 2% sucrose + 0.02% HQ or Hoagland's + 2% sucrose + 0.02% HQ. The four genotypes used differed substantially in seed production, but all produced seed, with germination >25%. This result indicates that the cut-culm technique is a possible way of getting recurrent restricted phenotypic selection seed in Pennisetum hexaploid hybrids.

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Nicole Smith and Prem L. Bhalla

Brassica oleracea is an important vegetable crop, which includes fully cross-fertile cultivars such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collard, kohlrabi, and kale. F1 hybrids are desirable, as plants grown from hybrid seeds benefit from the heterotic effect of crossing genetically distinct pure lines. But, there is no practical and reliable method to create male sterility for hybrid seed production that is suitable for Brassica vegetables. We have been working to induce nuclear male sterility in cauliflower (Brassica oleracea var. botrytis) by antisense inhibition of Bcp1, a unique anther-specific gene of Brassica. The production of nuclear male-sterile lines will enable male lines with superior agronomic traits to be converted to female parents. Thus, vegetative propagation of parent plants for hybrid seed production by tissue culture is desirable. To achieve this objective, we compared various plant tissues, including stem, petiole, leaf, leaf rib, flower stem, pedicel, flower bud, and petal as explants for tissue culture propagation of an Australian cultivar (B-4) of cauliflower, Brassica oleracea var. botrytis. Four different MS based media containing different amounts of BAP, NAA, GA3, and silver nitrate were used. The cultures were incubated at 25°C with a 16-hr photoperiod. Initial response was visible within 10 days, but percentage callus, root, and shoot formation was scored after 3 weeks of culturing. Of all the explants tested, pedicel explants showed maximum shoot initiation and leaf explant did not respond to regeneration under the conditions tested. The results from these on going experiments will be presented and discussed.

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Cayetana Schluter and Zamir K. Punja

Morphological characteristics of flowers, duration of flowering, degree of self-pollination, and extent of berry and seed production in North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) were studied under controlled environmental conditions as well as under field conditions. A comparison was also made between plants of 3 and 4 years of age at two field locations. The duration of flowering was ≈4 weeks and was similar in plants of both age groups grown in the two environments; however, 4-year-old plants produced an average of 40% more flowers (≈100 per plant in total) compared to 3-year-old plants. Flowers were comprised of five greenish-colored petals, five stamens, and an inferior ovary consisting of predominantly two fused carpels and stigmatic lobes. Anthers dehisced in staggered succession within individual flowers, and flowering began with the outermost edge of the umbel and proceeded inwards. At any given time during the 4-week flowering period, ≈10% of the flowers in an umbel had recently opened and were producing pollen. Stigma receptivity was associated with separation of the stigmatic lobes; this occurred at some time after pollen release. Growth of pollen tubes through the style in naturally pollinated flowers was most evident when the stigmatic lobes had separated. The proportion of flowers that developed into mature berries (pollination success rate) was in the range of 41% to 68% for both 3-year-old and 4-year-old plants. However, when the inflorescence was bagged during the flowering period, berry formation was increased by 13% to 21% in 4-year-old plants, depending on location. A majority of the berries (92% to 99%) contained one or two seeds in an almost equal frequency, with the remaining berries containing three seeds. In 4-year-old plants, the frequency of two-seeded berries was increased by ≈13% by bagging the inflorescence. These observations indicate that P. quinquefolius is highly self-fertile and that several physiological and environmental factors can affect seed production.

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Michael D. Rethwisch

In 1991 and 1992, insecticide trials were conducted on onion and broccoli grown for seed, respectively, near Yuma, Ariz., to evaluate the effects of insects and insecticide treatments on seed production. Four insecticides (Agri-Mek, Ammo, Capture, Lorsban) were evaluated on onions where both western flower thrips [Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande)] and onion thrips (Thrips tabaci Lindeman) were present. Visual differences between treatment resultant from onion thrips damage were evident within 10 days after treatments were applied at flower opening. Lorsban, Ammo, and Capture treatments provided control of onion thrips based on condition of seed heads. Ammo and Capture were the only treatments that increased seed yield, as the Lorsban treatment was thought to repel bees needed for pollination. Pyrethroid treatments yielded 40% more seed than the nontreated check, which yielded more than Lorsban and Agri-Mek treatments. Four insecticide treatments (Thiodan, CGA-215944, and two rates of RH7988) were evaluated on broccoli seed where green peach aphid [Myzus persicae (Sulzer)] was present. All treatments reduced aphid numbers compared to the nontreated check, with RH7988 providing most control. Seed yields (g/plant) were reduced in all insecticide-treated plots compared with the nontreated plots, although percentage of seed sized larger than 4.5/64” was apparently correlated with increased aphid control. Seed yield per plant was higher from the lower rate of RH7988 than the higher rate. Plants treated with RH7988 had almost 0.5 g/plant more seed sized 5.5/64” than other treatments.