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Non-Genetic Factors Affecting Primary Root Absence in Lovegrass and Kleingrass

C. R. Tischler, P. W. Voigt
Crop science 1981 v.21 no.3 pp. 427-430
Eragrostis curvula, Panicum coloratum, acid treatment, butyric acid, coleoptiles, mechanical damage, root growth, temperature
Small percentages of seedlings of ‘Selection 75’ kleingrass (Panicum coloratum L.) and ‘Ermelo’ lovegrass [Eragrostis curvula (Schrad.) Nees] have no primary root at emergence. An investigation was undertaken to determine whether light, temperature, mechanical damage, or butyric acid treatment increases the frequency of seedlings having no primary root (no-root seedlings). In both grasses, frequency of the no-root characteristic was significantly higher in seedlings grown at 35 C than in seedlings grown at 20 C. Lighter (less mature) seed produced higher percentages of noroot seedlings than heavier (more mature) seed. Frequency of no-root seedlings was significantly increased in Selection 75 by a butyric acid treatment of 7.5 × 10⁻³ M. Vigorous mechanical threshing (hammermilling) did not increase the frequency of no-root seedlings in Ermelo. Results of a depth-of-planting experiment demonstrated that in seedlings of Selection 75, exposure of the coleoptile to light led to normal root growth in no-root seedlings. In Ermelo, however, coleoptile exposure to light had no effect on percentages of no-root seedlings. These data suggest that the cause of no-root plants differs between the two species.