Influence of environmental variations on physiological attributes of sunflower
High degree of adaptability, wide range of climatic conditions, high photosynthetic capacity, maximum stomatal conductance and efficient hydraulic mechanism allow sunflower crop to be productive in broad range of environments. Combined effects of environmental factors not only modify plant phenology but also cause many physiological changes. Field experiments, one each in spring and autumn were conducted at Pir Mehr Ali Shah, Arid Agriculture University Rawalpindi, Pakistan for 2 years (2007 and 2008) to document the effect of environmental variations on the physiological functions of sunflower hybrids. Four sunflower hybrids, Alisson-RM, Parasio-24, MG-2 and S-278 were planted in randomized complete block design with 4 replications. The data on physiological attributes like photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate at 10 days interval after complete emergence to 60 days after emergence (DAE) was recorded. Overall higher values of photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration rate were recorded during spring as compared to autumn for both the years. Photosynthates accumulation and utilization was depressed in cold imposing a restriction on biomass production than at warm temperature. Physiological performance of all the hybrids during spring at the start was slower as compared to autumn. Progressive increase in photosynthetic rate, stomatal conductance and transpiration was recorded with the gradual increase in temperature up to a certain level during spring but further increase in temperature caused decline in these attributes. However during autumn, values of all these 3 physiological attributes were higher at the start those declined with gradual decrease in temperature later in the season.