Seed Reserves and Seedling Development in Winter Wheat
- Curt M. Peterson ,
- Betty Klepper and
- R. W. Rickman
Seed reserves are essential for germination of cereals including wheat, but the contributions of the endosperm and its associated aleurone layer to postgermination seedling development remain to be elucidated. Winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L. em Thell. ‘Stephens’) was grown for 36 d in a controlled environment from kernels of three sizes, and from kernels where part of the endosperm had been excised prior to sowing to study the contributions of seed reserves to seedling development. Excision of endosperm delayed the first two phyllochrons, prevented outgrowth of the coleoptilar tiller, and slightly delayed the appearance of the next two tillers. Plant dry weight, leaf numbers and dimensions, number of nodal roots, and total number of tillers were all affected by endosperm excision. The combined area of the first two leaves was linearly correlated with aleurone area for all seed treatments. Areas of later-formed leaves and final dry weight of seedlings were directly related to the areas of the first two leaves. Thus, the aleurone layer, in addition to seed reserves, is important for the enlargement of the first two leaves, with subsequent seedling development controlled by the size of the first two leaves under the conditions used in this study.
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