Seedling Vigor of three Lotus Species1
- P. R. Beuselinck and
- R. L. McGraw2
Birdsfoot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus L.) is characterized as having low seedling vigor. Seedling vigor, estimated by seedling shoot, root, or total dry weight at 2, 4, and 6 weeks after seeding, was determined for 11 cultivars of birdsfoot trefoil, as well as 27 plant introductions of birdsfoot trefoil, 18 of L. tenuis L., and 17 of L. pedunculatus L. Our objective was to identify germplasm sources having high seedling vigor for use in intra- and inter specific improvement of birdsfoot trefoil. Seedlings were grown in vermiculite in a greenhouse during April and May. Differences (P ≤ 0.01) among species and among entries within species were observed for average shoot, root, and total seedling dry weights in each 2-week period. The L. corniculatus introductions and cultivars generally had the highest dry weight at all dates. Average dry weights of L. pedunculatus were consistently lower than the other species and the cultivars. Seedling dry weight was positively correlated (P ≤ 0.05) with 100-seed weight but the coefficients varied among species with highest values observed for L. tenuis and the cultivars. Of the 10 entries with highest shoot, root, and total seedling dry weights at 2 weeks after seeding, only L. corniculatus introductions 194228 and 226796, L. tenuis introduction 302921, and ‘Maitland’ and ‘LA synthetic’ remained among the 10 highest at 6 weeks. Broad-sense heritability estimates for average total seedling dry weight ranged from 0.56 to 0.96 at 6 weeks, indicating a large portion of the variation observed was from genetic differences. There appears to be sufficient intraspecies variation to make genetic progress by selection. However, interspecific crosses, especially with L. tenuis, may be a feasible alternative to improve seedling vigor of birdsfoot trefoil.Please view the pdf by using the Full Text (PDF) link under 'View' to the left.
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