Flowering problems and their possible solution in cassava breeding
Six elite cassava clones were chosen from cassava breeding program at the National Crops Resource Research Institute (NaCRRI) based on their flowering characteristics and seed set. The clones were planted in randomized complete block experimental design with 3 replications. The floral biology of these cassava clones were studied, focusing on morphological traits and developmental timing. Since cassava develops branches in levels, data was sourced from the 1st level of branching through the 4th level of branching. The result indicated that days to branching generally varied among all the genotypes studied, indicating the need to use different planting dates for different genotypes to ensure synchronization of flowering. The time difference among genotypes from branching to visible inflorescence was not larger than one and a half days and this difference did not seem to be a factor for synchronization. The general number of female flowers was low in all genotypes across branching levels. This suggests there is a need to apply techniques that could enhance flowering in cassava. Conversely, the number of male flowers outnumbered the female flowers, suggesting that male flower production may not be a limiting factor to hybrid seed production. The male flower opened 20 to 30 days later after the opening of the female flowers. This calls for delayed planting of the early flowering genotypes when used as female parent. It was recommended that in order to synchronize flowering, the late flowering genotypes have to be planted ahead of the early flowering genotypes. In addition, applying techniques such as growth regulators, red light and finding the most optimal locations for flowering is recommended for further study as a way of enhancing flowering among cassava genotypes.
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