The effects of ploidy and seed mass on the emergence and early vigour of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars
K. F. Smith, N. M. McFarlane, V. M. Croft, P. J. Trigg and G. A. Kearney
Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture
43(5) 481 - 486
Published: 03 June 2003
Genetic variation for seed mass and components of early vigour were measured on 120 seedlings of each of 18 diploid and 27 tetraploid perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) cultivars. Seeds of tetraploid cultivars were on average heavier (3.8 mg) than seed of diploid cultivars (2.4 mg). However, there was variation for mean seed mass both within and between ploidy classes and within cultivars. The components of early vigour measured on each of the seedlings were: date of emergence, leaf appearance rate, seedling height (10 days after germination), leaf length and width and dry matter at 33 days after emergence. Mean seed mass of a cultivar was significantly (P<0.05) positively correlated with seedling height, leaf length, leaf width, shoot length and shoot mass. Individual seed mass within a cultivar was significantly associated with all components of early vigour, except the date of emergence of the second true leaf. There was no difference in the rate of emergence of tetraploid and diploid cultivars, although tetraploid cultivars tended to have longer and wider leaves, greater seedling lengths and fewer leaves and tillers than diploid cultivars. There was also evidence of genetic variation for seedling vigour components in perennial ryegrass after seed mass and ploidy effects had been removed during analysis. These data suggest that seed mass has a large positive effect on early vigour of both diploid and tetraploid cultivars of perennial ryegrass and that, in the absence of any specific knowledge of the early vigour characteristics of a given cultivar, seed mass could be used as a surrogate when choosing between cultivars with similar adaptation and performance.
Full text doi:10.1071/EA01130
© CSIRO 2003