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Plant sciences, sustainable farming systems and food quality

Environmental and genotypic control of time to flowering in canola and Indian mustard

M. J. Robertson, S. Asseng, J. A. Kirkegaard, N. Wratten, J. F. Holland, A. R. Watkinson, T. D. Potter, W. Burton, G. H. Walton, D. J. Moot and I. Farre

Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 53(7) 793 - 809
Published: 08 July 2002


The timing of flowering in canola (Brassica napus) is an important determinant of adaptation to its environment. Cultivars of canola varying in maturity are grown over a wide range of photoperiod and temperature conditions in Australia. A quantitative understanding of the genotypic and environmental control of time to flowering can be used to improve breeding programs and crop management strategies. Controlled environment and field studies were used to determine the responses of 21 cultivars of canola and breeding lines of Indian mustard to vernalisation, temperature, and photoperiod. The number of days to flowering in all genotypes was reduced in response to vernalisation and long days, due to a reduced duration between sowing and buds visible. The vernalisation response was saturated with c. 25 days at 3°C. Base and optimum temperatures for development were confirmed at 0 and 20°C, respectively. The photoperiod response occurred between 10.8 and 16.3 h, and plants responded to photoperiod from emergence. A simulation model incorporating these effects was developed, which predicted days to flowering with a mean deviation of c. 5 days. Later flowering genotypes had model parameters that indicated greater responses to vernalisation and photoperiod than early-flowering genotypes.

Keywords: Brassica napus, phenology, photoperiod, vernalisation, temperature, Brassica juncea.

© CSIRO 2002

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