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Crop Science Abstract - CROP BREEDING & GENETICS

Population and Environmental Effects on Seed Production, Germination, and Seedling Vigor in Western Wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii [Rydb.] A. Löve)


This article in CS

  1. Vol. 46 No. 6, p. 2503-2508
    Received: Apr 19, 2006

    * Corresponding author(s): blair.waldron@usu.edu
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  1. Blair L. Waldron *a,
  2. Joseph G. Robinsa,
  3. Kevin B. Jensena,
  4. Antonio J. Palazzob,
  5. Timothy J. Caryb and
  6. John D. Berdahlc
  1. a USDA-ARS, Forage and Range Research Lab., Utah State Univ., Logan, UT 84322-6300
    b ERDC, U.S. Army Cold Regions Research Lab., Hanover, NH 03755-1290
    c USDA-ARS, Northern Great Plains Research Lab., Mandan, ND 58554


Western wheatgrass (Pascopyrum smithii [Rydb.] A. Löve) has low seed production and poor germination and seedling vigor, limiting its use when quick establishment is needed to stabilize degraded rangelands. This study examined differences among germplasm sources and seed production environments on western wheatgrass seed traits. Seed was harvested from 10 western wheatgrass populations grown in three environments. Seed yield, seed weight, seedling germination, and seedling vigor were then determined. Seedling vigor was measured by greenhouse evaluation of seedling emergence percentage and rate from a planting depth of 6.35 cm. There were significant population × environment interactions for seed yield and seed weight. However, high Spearman's rank correlations between environments within each trait (r = 0.64 to 0.85, P = 0.048 to 0.002) suggested that environment had only a moderate effect on ranking of populations. Mean seed yield and 100-seed weight varied significantly among populations, ranging from 2.6 to 25.4 g plant−1 and 0.43 to 0.54 g, respectively. Seed germination was high, ranging from 78.4 to 94.4%; however, population performance was not consistent across environments. Environment had no effect on seedling emergence rate, whereas emergence among populations ranged from 2.4 to 4.2 seedlings d−1 Germination rate and seed weight were both correlated with seedling emergence rate (r = 0.57, P = 0.001 and r = 0.49, P = 0.01, respectively). These results indicated that seed production environment had little effect on western wheatgrass seed yield or seedling vigor and that it may be possible to breed for improvement in these traits by selecting among and within western wheatgrass populations.

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Copyright © 2006. Crop Science Society of AmericaCrop Science Society of America