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Crop Science Abstract -

Alkaloid Concentration in Plant Parts of Reed Canarygrass of Varying Maturity1


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 15 No. 1, p. 41-43
    Received: June 5, 1974

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  1. J. L. Hagman,
  2. G. C. Marten and
  3. A. W. Hovin2



These experiments were conducted to assist plant breeders and forage management researchers who need to know the primary site of alkaloids within reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) forage at specific stages of plant maturity. Alkaloids appear to be responsible for the relatively poor palatability and potential toxicity of this grass to ruminants. We determined alkaloid distribution in leaves and stems of reed canarygrass at various growth stages. Leaf blades (both tip and base parts) contained more than twice as much alkaloid as leaf sheaths and stems in both greenhouse and field studies. The alkaloid concentration of the leaf blades increased with advanced plant maturity of the first growth, but the concentrations in the stems and leaf sheaths decreased. The concentrations decreased in blades, sheaths, and stems with advanced maturity of the regrowth.

The upper third of the total herbage had the highest and most uniform alkaloid concentration when compared to the middle and lower thirds. High correlations (r = 0.94 to 0.98) between alkaloid concentrations in the upper third and in the total herbage enable us to recommend sampling only the upper third of herbage canopies for routine alkaloid screening of reed canarygrass genotypes. This procedure will be most convenient and most precise for use in breeding programs.

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