The effect of seed mass and cotyledon removal on the germination and growth of fluted pumpkin (telfaria occidentalis hook. F)
Experiments were carried out to determine the effect of seed mass and cotyledon removal on the germination and growth of African fluted pumpkin (Telfaria occidentalis, Hook. F.). The seeds of pumpkin were divided into 3 weight classes A (13.10-13.05 g), B (11.10-11.05 g), C (8.60-8.55 g) and planted in a 1:1 mixture of soil and sawdust, and the following parameters observed: germination rate, seedling height, number of leaves produced, leaf area index, fresh and dry weight of seedlings. Except for leaf area index, it was found that the seeds with the highest weight showed superiority over the seeds of the other weight classes based on the results of Analysis of variance (ANOVA) at P> 0.05. The removal of one and two cotyledons had adverse effect on the seedling growth. The plants with their two cotyledons removed both before and after first foliage leaves emergence showed the least seedling growth. The seed mass was strongly positively correlated with the observed parameters. These results show that seedlings originating from large seeds can better endure loss of cotyledons and aerial biomass and are thus better adapted to withstand cotyledon damage due to soil fauna and other deteriorating factors in the early stage of life.