Effect of harvest time on germination power, seedlings vigour and yield of the oleaginous gourd Lagenaria siceraria seed in the rainforest of Côte d’Ivoire

Volume07-2019
Advances in Agricultural Science 07 (2019), 01: 51-59

Effect of harvest time on germination power, seedlings vigour and yield of the oleaginous gourd Lagenaria siceraria seed in the rainforest of Côte d’Ivoire

Ahou Leticia Loukou 1*, Kouame Kevin Koffi 2, Bi Irie Arsène Zoro 2

Department of Sciences and Foods Technology, Nangui Abrogoua University, 02 BP 801 Abidjan 02, Côte d’Ivoire.
Nangui Abrogoua University, Department of Natural Sciences, 02 BP 801 Abidjan 02, Côte d’Ivoire.

ABSTRACT

The ripeness stage of Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl fruit at the time of harvest is a very important factor, which determines seed quality and yield. The purpose of the current study was to determine the best harvest time of L. siceraria berries for high quality seed. Two cultivars of L. siceraria (round- and oval-berry) were used. Three maturity stages, 30 days after fruit set (30 DAFS), 50 days after fruit set (50 DAFS) and at complete plant wilting (CPW) were considered. Three experimentations were conducted: the production of berries at different ripening levels, the germination power of seeds and the seedling vigour, and the agronomic performance of plants. The results showed that the seeds from berries harvested at 50 DAFS and at CPW present the best agronomic characters. When the berries of both cultivars had reached the stage 50 DAFS and CPW, their seeds had the highest total seed weight (39.46 – 52.72 g) and germination percentage (88.7 to 89.5 %). These seeds produced more vigorous seedlings with a good performance than the seeds at 30 DAFS. The stages 50 DAFS and CPW can be considered as the best harvest time of L. siceraria berries.

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KeywordsLagenaria siceraria berriesHarvest timesGermination power of seedsSeedlings vigourAgronomic performance of plant


How to Cite: Loukou, A., Koffi, K., & Zoro, B. (2018). Effect of harvest time on germination power, seedlings vigour and yield of the oleaginous gourd Lagenaria siceraria seed in the rainforest of Côte d’Ivoire. Advances in Agricultural Science7(1), 51-59.   

Introduction

Lagenaria siceraria (Molina) Standl. is one species of the cucurbitaceous family. It is commonly known as the white-flowered or bottle gourd (Morimoto et al 2005). This annual monoecious cucurbit is a vigorous climber or trailer, which has been exploited for various uses by local people in many West African countries. Generally, women cultivate regularly some of these cucurbits for their oleaginous seeds, on small scales (Zoro Bi et al 2006). The dried and slightly roasted kernels are transformed into a paste for consumption as sauce thickener called “egusi” soup in Cameroon, Benin, Nigeria or “pistachio soup” in Côte d’Ivoire (Zoro Bi et al 2003; Achigan-Dako et a. 2006). This sauce is very prized in African communities. The trade of L. siceraria seeds brings back substantial incomes to the producers. Indeed, dried seeds are sold at a higher price than some industrials crops such as cocoa and coffee in Côte d’Ivoire (Zoro Bi et al 2003).

Among the oleaginous cucurbit, Lagenaria siceraria is the most cultivated (Achigan-Dako et al 2006) due to its high agronomic potential. Two cultivars distinguishable by their fruit shape and size have been described in Côte d’Ivoire (Zoro Bi et al 2006). The composition and nutritional value of Lagenaria siceraria have been analyzed by Badifu (1991) ; Achu et al (2005) ; Olaofe et al. (2009); Loukou et al (2011). It has been showed that the average rate of lipids and proteins of this species is 856 g kg-1 (Olaofe et al 2009) compared to 753.7 g kg-1 for groundnut (Loukou et al 2007) and 550 g kg-1 for soybean.

In spite of its important nutritional quality and agronomic potential (Achigan-Dako et al 2006), L. siceraria cultivation remains traditional and fruits are harvested at the complete wilting of the plants (Ban et al 2006). The harvested fruits are often stored on farm for an undetermined time before seeds extraction. In these natural systems of production, several factors limit seeds yield and quality due to some insects, micro-organism and also high relative moisture which result in the germination of seeds inside the fruits.

In L. siceraria, germination of seeds from berries harvested at different development stages has not been studied previously and needs to be investigated. Such information is essential to identify the development stage at which L. siceraria seeds acquire the ability to germinate and to give plants with high yields.

Delayed cucurbits fruit harvest may increase the loss of the edible seeds due to their germination within the fruit; however, early harvest i.e. before plant maturity marked by the change of peduncle colour of fruit from green to brown, may influence negatively the seed germination, seedling vigour and their productivity. Indeed, according to Elias and Copeland (2001), stage of seed development at harvest influences the yield and the seed quality. Harvesting too early may result in low yield and poor seed quality, whereas harvesting at complete senescence may result in shattering and reduced seed yield. Harvesting at full maturity is preferred for better threshing and storability because of the suitable moisture content of seeds. The use of high-quality seed is essential for good stand establishment and yield in any crop.

The objective of this research was to determine the best time to harvest L. siceraria fruits in order to have high seed quality and plants with good yield performance. To reach this objective, germination, seedling vigour and agronomic performance of plants were evaluated on seed from L. siceraria berries at three stages of maturity. The results of the current work will allow the determination of the appropriate harvest window.

2. Materials and Methods

2.1. Plant material

Two open-pollinated cultivars of L. siceraria, recognizable by the fruit shape (oval or round) were used. The seeds of these cultivars were obtained from the cucurbit germplasm of the Nangui Abrogoua University Ex Abobo-Adjamé University (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) where they were recorded by the alphanumerical codes NI354 and NI260 for the round- and oval-fruited cultivar respectively. Seeds from both cultivars were characterized by the presence of a cap on the distal side. Variations were also indicated between the two cultivars for the rate of seed germination and seedling emergence; the best values of these two characters were observed in the round-fruited cultivar.

 

2.2. Production of berries at different ripening levels

This trial was conducted from July to November 2007 on two different sites. The first site was the experimental station of the University of Nangui Abrogoua (Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire) and the second site was a farm of Brêgbo village (Bingerville, suburbs of Abidjan). Abidjan is located in the south of Côte d’Ivoire (latitude between 5°17 et 5°31 N

Table 1. Climate data of the three experimentations

Experimentations Rainfall (mm) Temperature (°C) Humidity (%)
First experimentation (July to November 2007) 5.33 to 192.28 23.3 to 26.4 89.4 to 89.94
Second experimentation (April 2008) 38.9 25.1 89.2
Third experimentation (April to December 2008 38.9 to 452.9 25.1 to 27.2 88.4 to 91.0

Source: CNRA-Côte d’Ivoire (2011).

 

and longitude between 3°45 and 4°22 W). The soil of both sites is sandy clay and is very suitable for cultivating L. siceraria. Climate data of the experimentation are presented in table 1 (CNRA-Côte d’Ivoire 2011) and were collected by the Marc Delorme station (Port Bouët, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire).

Four plots of 400 m2 (20 m x 20 m) each have been established: two plots at the University of Nangui Abrogoua for the two cultivars and two others at Brêgbo (Bingerville) for the same cultivars. For each plot, the experimental design was composed of 12 holes. The planting distance was 4 m within rows and 6 m between rows.

Female flowers were tagged after their closure to monitor the fruits until the date determined for their harvesting. Fruits were harvested at three stages of maturity: (i) 30 days after fruit set (30 DAFS); at this maturity stage, fruits do not grow any more; (ii) 50 days after fruit set (50 DAFS), where the fruit colour does not change any longer and (iii) at complete plant wilting (CPW), indicating the end of the plant growth. For each cultivar, five fruits per maturation times and per site were selected. For each fruit, the following traits were measured: the fresh weight (FWE, measured using a balance), the length (FL, measured with a ruler), the width (FWI, measured with a ruler) and the seed cavity diameter (SCD, measured with a ruler). Later, seeds of each fruit were extracted and dried under sun until seeds had the same water content and four seed traits were analyzed: total seeds weight (TSWE, ), percentage of poorly filled seeds (PPoFS, calculated according the equation (N / 50) x 100, where N = number of poorly filled seeds  ), 100-seeds weight (100-SWE, weight of one to three shares of 100 seeds taken after drying seeds) and tegument percentage (TP, calculated according the following equation (p1-p2) / p1) x 100, were p1 is the weight of unshelled seeds and p2 the weight of shelled seeds). A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) had shown that there is no effect of the sites on this experimentation (Loukou 2013). Therefore, the following experimentations were conducted on a same site (University of Nangui Abrogoua).

 

2.3. Germination power and seedling vigour

The experimentation was realized on the experimental station of the University of Nangui Abrogoua, in April 2008. Climate data of the experimentation are presented in table 1 (CNRA-Côte d’Ivoire 2011) and were collected by the Marc Delorme station (Port Bouët, Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire).

The experimental design was a randomized complete block (1.8 m x 1 m x 0.3 m) with five replicates (Five berries). Twenty seeds per fruit were sown for each of the three harvest times and followed during 14 days from the date of sowing. Seeds were considered as germinated when the cotyledons appeared above the ground level. The measurements on the seedling were performed at five-leaf stage when fifth leaves reached a 1-cm length. Taking into account the two sites, the harvest times and the cultivars, 1200 seedlings were evaluated. Two trials were conducted at the University of Nangui Abrogoua to accomplish the current study.

Germination power of seeds was evaluated using germination percentage (GP, Ratio (n / N) x 100, where n = average number of seeds and N is the average number of seeds sown), germination time (GT, Average time from the date of sowing to apparition of cotyledons above the-ground level) and germination rate ( ), Where, X1, X2, and Xn represent the numbers of germinated seeds on the first, second, and last count; N1, N2, and Nn corresponding to the numbers of days on the first, second, and last count; while seedling vigour was examined using the following characters: hypocotyl length (HL, small section of the stem between the cotyledonary node and the collar), seedling length (SGL, distance between the insertion point of the cotyledonary leaves and  root apex) and seedling dry weight (SDWE, measured after drying seedling to constant weight).

 

2.4. Agronomic performance of plants from seeds of different maturity fruit

The experimentation took place from April to December 2008 on the station of the University of Nangui Abrogoua. Climate data of this experimentation is presented in table 1.

Two plots representing both cultivars from the two sites were conducted. The plot (44 m x 28 m) layouts were based on the principle of a completely randomized design with ten replications (two sowings per berry). The planting distance was 4 m between and within rows with 4 m of edge. The two consecutives plots were spaced by 3 m. Each plot contained 60 plants.

Three phenological characters [tendrils time (TT, number of days from sowing to first tendril production), male flowering time (MF, number of days from sowing to first male flower opening), and female flowering time (FF, number of days from sowing to first female flower opening)] were evaluated. Five measurements were performed per plant for each character. All fruits were harvested at 50 DAFS and the data of productivity characters [the number of fruits per plant (FN), the weight (FWE), the length (FL), the width (FWI) and the seed cavity diameter (SCD) of the fruits, the total seeds weight (TSWE), the percentage of poorly filled seeds (PPoFS), the 100-seeds weight (100-SWE) and the tegument percentage (TP)] were collected on all fruits.

The three experimentations were repeated twice. For all experimentations, except germination tests, insecticide treatment (Active ingredient and concentration, cypermethrin 5%) was applied during the vegetative and production stages of plants.

 

2.5. Statistical analysis

Data were analyzed with MANOVA to determine if there was an overall effect of the harvest times on the harvested berries, the germination power of their seeds and the seedling vigour, and the agronomic performance of plants. A univariate analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to determine the influential factors that caused differences found in MANOVA. When a significant difference has been observed, the ANOVA has been supplemented by the test of GUPTA to determine the factors, which present the highest values of each character (Dagnelie, 1975). All the tests were performed using the statistica 7.1 software package (StatSoft, 2005).

 

3. Results

3.1. Production of berries at different ripening levels

A multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed a significant difference between harvest times (F = 24.95; P < 0.001). According to ANOVA test (Table 2), in the round-berry, this difference is due to the following six traits: fruit width (FWI), diameter of the cavity (SCD), total seeds weight

Table 2. Agronomic characterization of Lagenaria siceraria berries harvested at different maturity stages

Characters Round-berry F P Oval-berry F P
30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW 30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW
FWE (g) 720.0 ± 303.86 970.0 ± 299.26 840.0 ± 227.06 2.01 0.154 1180.0 ± 62.15 1160.0 ± 75.68 1066.0 ± 395.71 0.17 0.848
FL (mm) 127.5 ± 16.62 132.7 ± 18.11 130.5 ± 16.63 0.23 0.795 0141.8 ± 37.47 144.8 ± 22.36 0148.4 ± 22.81 0.14 0.874
FWI (mm) 111.6 ± 15.15b 0127.2 ± 13.52a 121.8 ± 8.38a 3.90 0.032 0127.7 ± 26.00 134.1 ± 6.77 0133.8 ± 14.20 0.42 0.659
SCD (mm) 086.6 ± 7.50b 099.3 ± 10.92a 101.7 ± 5.24a 9.75 < 0.001 0099.3 ± 19.37 107.4 ± 6.39 0107.9 ± 12.07 1.25 0.304
TSWE (g) 016.1 ± 5.99b 039.5 ± 7.39a 037.0 ± 9.6a 26.99 < 0.001 0027.8 ± 15.80b 052.7 ± 9.71a 0050.0 ± 18.19a 8.32 0.002
100-SWE (g) 008.9 ± 1.58b 014.7 ± 2.09a 015.5 ± 2.90a 40.48 < 0.001 0010.2 ± 2.96b 018.6 ± 3.98b 0021.0-± 3.44a 60.72 < 0.001
PPoFS (%) 087.6 ± 21.83a 008.2 ± 12.90b 002.7 ± 2.55b 309.8 < 0.001 0097.9 ± 5.20a 009.7 ± 11.92b 0007.2 ± 12.49b 714.19 < 0.001
TP (%) 034.2 ± 6.52a 026.2 ± 3.49b 028.1 ± 3.89b 21.51 < 0.001 0059.2 ± 13.21a 036.1 ± 9.76b 0032.5 ± 6.38b 54.65 < 0.001

For each character, mean (Mean ± Standard Error) values followed by letter a were the highest averages and mean values with letter b were the lowest averages based on GUPTA test at 0.05 level; mean values without letters were not significantly different (P ≥ 0.05).

FWE: fresh weight, FL: Fruit Length, FWI: Fruit Width, SCD: Seed Cavity Diameter, TSWE: Total Seeds Weight, PPoFS: Percentage of Poorly Filled Seeds, 100-SWE: 100-Seeds Weight, TP: Tegument Percentage

 

 

Table 3. Effect of harvest time on seed germination power and seedlings vigour of Lagenaria siceraria

Characters Round-berry F P Oval-berry F P
30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW 30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW
Germinability characters
GT (days) 05.6 ± 0.85 05.3 ± 0.71 05.1 ± 0.42 2.73 0.074 06.4 ± 0.91a 05.4 ± 0.77b 05.0 ± 0.25 b 17.24 < 0.001
GP (%) 81.5 ± 15.14b 89.5 ± 9.72a 94.2 ± 7.30a 6.61 0.003 40.7 ± 35.88b 78.2 ± 20.86a 88.2 ± 17.04a 18.69 < 0.001
GR 03.0 ± 0.710b 03.5 ± 0.60a 03.7 ± 0.40a 7.69 0.001 01.4 ± 1.3b 03.0 ± 0.93a 03.6 ± 0.71a 24.78 < 0.001
Vigour characters
HL (mm) 37.4 ± 5.53b 40.9 ± 6.51a 43.8 ± 8.95a 3.74 0.030 46.0 ± 10.44 46.9 ± 10.65 53.2 ± 9.97 2.61 0.084
SGL (mm) 63.5 ± 7.72 67.2 ± 10.30 71.4 ± 11.02 3.13 0.052 72.4 ± 11.21 74.0 ± 12.31 80.6 ± 12.49 2.26 0.116
SDWE (g) 00.2 ± 0.03b 00.2 ± 0.03a 00.3 ± 0.03a 8.86 < 0.001 00.2 ± 0.03b 00.3 ± 0.05b 00.3 ± 0.05a 12.17 < 0.001

For each character, mean (Mean ± Standard Error) values followed by letter a were the highest averages and mean values with letter b were the lowest averages based on GUPTA test at 0.05 level; mean values without letters were not significantly different (P ≥ 0.05).

GP: Germination Percentage, GT: Germination Time, GR: Germination Rate, HL: Hypocotyl Length, SGL: Seedling Length, SDWE:  Seedling Dry.

 

(TSWE), 100-seeds weight (100-SWE), percentage of poorly filled seeds (PPoFS) and tegument percent (TP). The GUPTA test showed that the highest values of FWI, SCD, TSWE, 100-SWE and the lowest values of PPoFS and TP were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW. In the oval-berry, this result is mainly due to the four seed traits (table 2): total seeds weight (TSWE), 100-seeds weight (100-SWE), percentage of poorly filled seeds (PPoFS) and tegument percent (TP). The highest values of TSWE, 100-SWE and the lowest values of PPoFS and TP were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW according to the GUPTA test.

 

3.2. Germination power of seeds and seedling vigour

The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed a significant difference between harvest times for seed germination power and seedling vigour (F = 5.44; P < 0.001). Two traits of germination power (Germination percentage (GP) and germination rate (GR)) and two traits of seedlings vigour (hypocotyl length (HL) and seedling dry weight (SDWE)) expressed significant difference between harvest stages in round-berry (table 3). The highest values were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW for these traits. In the oval-berry, the germination time (GT), the germination percentage (GP), the germination rate (GR) and the seedling dry weight (SDWE) expressed significant difference between harvest stages (table 3). The highest values were revealed at 50 DAFS and at CPW for all these traits except germination time. For this trait, the lowest values were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW.

 

3.4. Agronomic performance of plants from seeds of different maturity fruit

The multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) showed no significant difference between harvest times for agronomic performance of plants characters (F = 1.12; P > 0.36). However, according to ANOVA test, significant differences between harvest times for some phenological characters have been observed in round-berry (Table 4). The lowest values of phenological characters were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW. In the oval-berry, ANOVA test showed a significant difference between harvest times for all phenological characters with exception of male flowering time (MF) (Table 4). Four productivity characters (SCD, 100-SWE, PPoFS, TP) were significatively different. The lowest values of phenological characters were observed at 50 DAFS and at CPW. The highest values of SCD and 100-SWE were revealed respectively at CPW and at 30 DAFS while the lowest values of PPoFS and TP were indicated at 50 DAFS.

 

4. Discussion

The study showed significant difference between fruits according to their period of harvest. Berries and the seeds of round and oval-berry presented the best values of agronomic characters when berries were harvested at 50 DAFS and at CPW. These results mean that berries of both cultivars can be considered mature 50 days after fruit set. Indeed, at this time, total weight of seeds (TSWE) and 100-seeds weight (100-SWE) were high, while percentage of poorly filled seeds (PPoFS) and tegument percentage (TP) were low. These characters are important selection criteria of seeds. For 100-SWE, values obtained during the current study at 50DAFS are close to those determined by Zoro Bi et al. (2003) and Achigan-Dako et al. (2006) which showed that 100-SWE of L. siceraria fruits harvested at senescence is 18.73 ± 0.31 g. These observations suggest that the production cycle of these two cultivars of L. siceraria may be reduced to 50 days after fruit set.

Seeds qualities contribute to the growth and plants production (Jin et al. 2010). In the current work, it has noticed that seeds maturities influence germination and seedling vigour.

Low germination percentages were observed in the seeds from berry at 30 DAFS in the two cultivars. This result is due to the immaturity of embryo. Indeed, harvesting too early may result in low yield and quality, because of the partial development of essential structures of seeds. Another reason for low germination percentages of Lagenaria siceraria seeds at this stage is probably the presence of certain germination inhibitors as abscisic acid. According to Nerson (2007), cucurbit seeds contain in their coat the abscisic acid. This acid is a germination inhibitor that breaks down gradually with seed maturation (Kermode 2005).

Table 4. Agronomic performance of Lagenaria siceraria plants from seed of berries sampled at different harvest time

Characters Round-berry F P Oval-berry F P
30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW 30 DAFS 50 DAFS CPW
Phenological characters
TT (days) 27.1 ± 5.39a 24.3 ± 4.56b 24.4 ± 4.36b 21.62 < 0.001 29.0 ± 3.033a 26.3 ± 4.19b 25.1 ± 3.45b 33.60 < 0.001
MF (days) 40.0 ± 3.32b 41.3 ± 2.81a 39.8 ± 2.85b 15.54 < 0.001 43.9 ± 5.32 43.5 ± 5.17 44.4 ± 2.70 1.47 0.232
FF (days) 54.5 ± 7.66a 52.7 ± 7.32b 50.6 ± 6.68b 9.37 < 0.001 62.2 ± 5.61a 59.1 ± 7.28b 56.6 ± 5.59b 18.19 < 0.001
Yield characters
FN 001.3 ± 1.14 001.2 ± 1.07 001.3 ± 1.19 0.08 0.919 0000.8 ± 1.37 0001.3 ± 1.48 000.6 ± 0.90 2.40 0.096
FWE (g) 933.3 ± 326.09 970.0 ± 324.61 897.2 ± 294.79 0.25 0.779 1249.0 ± 440.03 1180.5 ± 336.33 1309.5 ± 303.71 1.47 0.235
FL (mm) 124.5 ± 12.33 125.6 ± 19.22 126.9 ± 15.29 0.10 0.908 0146.7 ± 16.71 0144.4 ± 21.52 152.2 ± 17.13 1.93 0.150
FWI (mm) 122.7 ± 15.99 122.3 ± 16.61 113.5 ± 15.75 1.47 0.240 0135.1 ± 20.83 0134.9 ± 11.18 139.0 ± 11.56 1.01 0.370
SCD (mm) 102.5 ± 16.50 102.1 ± 13.11 095.0 ± 13.49 1.20 0.309 0110.3 ± 18.27b 0110.2 ± 8.92b 116.7 ± 10.14a 3.38 0.038
TSWE (g) 025.3 ± 9.04 024.9 ± 10.63 025.4 ± 7.24 0.10 0.992 0046.6 ± 14.44 0044.9 ± 15.35 049.8 ± 14.41 1.06 0.349
100-SWE (g) 014.1 ± 3.13 013.5 ± 11.56 014.3 ± 2.46 0.44 0.649 0018.3 ± 3.55a 0016.6 ± 3.80b 016.4 ± 3.03b 4.71 0.010
PPoFS (%) 12.3 ± 15.76 016.2 ± 11.56 012.1 ± 1.59 1.24 0.295 0010.0 ± 8.69b 0011.7 ± 16.28b 015.5 ± 12.35a 4.01 0.019
TP (%) 29.1 ± 5.37 028.8 ± 4.71 027.0 ± 6.95 1.13 0.328 0031.7 ± 3.35a 0029.7 ± 5.97b 031.7 ± 4.25a 5.95 0.003

For each character, mean (Mean ± Standard Error) values followed by letter a were the highest averages and mean values with letter b were the lowest averages based on GUPTA test at 0.05 level; mean values without letters were not significantly different (P ≥ 0.05).

TT: Tendrils Time, MF: Male Flowering time, FF: Female Flowering, FN: Number of Fruits, FWE: fresh weight, FL: Fruit Length, FWI: Fruit Width, SCD: Seed Cavity Diameter, TSWE: Total Seeds Weight, PPoFS: Percentage of Poorly Filled Seeds, 100-SWE: 100-Seeds Weight, TP: Tegument Percentage.

 

High percentages for germination and vigour were observed when both cultivars of Lagenaria siceraria fruits are harvested fifty days after fruit set. The stage 50 DAFS was previously presumed maturity stage of L. siceraria. It was characterize by seeds with low tegument percentage (TP), low percentage of poorly filled seeds (PoPFS), and high lipid reserves (Loukou et al. 2011). In addition to the environmental characters, Pommel and Bouchard (1990) cite other specific factors such as seed size, and especially the thickness or the nature of his tegument and the amount of reserves that promote the germination. Ripening time, 50 DAFS can therefore be considered as stages of maturity of the berries of both cultivars of this crop.

Changes in phenological characters follow the same trend as those of seed germination power and seedling vigour for the two cultivars. The tendrils, male and female flowers appeared faster for plants produced by seeds from berries harvested 50 days after fruit set. Our study showed a high correlation between seedling vigour and performance of the plant. In Lagenaria siceraria species, seeds harvesting too early i.e before 50 days after sowing may result in late growth. This result suggested that to ensure performance agronomic of plants, fruits should be harvested 50 days after sowing at least.

 

Conclusions

The study indicated that the harvest time of Lagenaria siceraria berries had affected the germination power of their seeds, the seedling vigour and the agronomic performance of plants produced. The two cultivars of L. siceraria studied should be harvested at 50 DAFS, due to their high potential of seeds. These seeds at 50 DAFS had the best germination power and generated very vigorous seedlings. Plants from these seedlings had produced the best quality fruit. At this stage, the leaves of L. siceraria were still green and could serve as sources of nutrients for livestock. Further studies could be suggested to evaluate the potentialities of these by-products.

 

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to the Agence Universitaire Francophone (AUF) and the International Foundation for Science (IFS) for financial support.

The authors declare no potential conflicts of interest with respect to the research, authorship, and publication of this manuscript

 

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