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18 December 2012 Effects of relative emergence time and water deficit on the timing of fruit dispersal in Raphanus raphanistrum L.
M. S. Taghizadeh, M. E. Nicolas, R. D. Cousens
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Seed dispersal is both a spatial and a temporal phenomenon, although most studies focus on spatial aspects. Seed initiation on the maternal plant may occur over a considerable period, especially in indeterminately flowering species, and thus seeds may be exposed to a wide range of environmental conditions during their development. The result is variation in the timing of seed development, the anatomy of structures related to the dispersal process, and the behaviour and fate of seeds post-dispersal. A key resource during the growth and development of summer-maturing species in most areas, and one that is thus likely to modify these processes, is water. Two experiments were therefore undertaken to describe (i) the development of Raphanus raphanistrum fruits and the timing of fruit dispersal, and (ii) the effects of water availability on the timing of fruit dispersal. Fewer seeds were produced and subsequently dispersed by later emerging plants. The duration of fruit dispersal became shorter when the plants emerged progressively later than the crop, and the time of maximum dispersal was later. For cohorts of fruits initiated at the same time, those that developed under mild and severe water deficit reached their final length sooner, and were dispersed sooner, than those receiving a plentiful supply of water. Thus, the phenology of the maternal plant and the nature of its environment can modify the timing of propagule maturity and consequently dispersal. Such information may provide an opportunity for managers to reduce weed seed return to their field or, conversely, to regulate the amount of contaminated grain or reduce dispersal to other locations.

© CSIRO 2012
M. S. Taghizadeh, M. E. Nicolas, and R. D. Cousens "Effects of relative emergence time and water deficit on the timing of fruit dispersal in Raphanus raphanistrum L.," Crop and Pasture Science 63(10), 1018-1025, (18 December 2012).
Received: 3 July 2012; Accepted: 1 October 2012; Published: 18 December 2012
plant development
timing of seed dispersal
water deficit
wild radish
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