Tabi-Mbi Kingsley, Ntsomboh-Ntsefong Godswill, Ngando-Ebongue George Frank, Anjambang Walters Nchu2, Youmbi Emmanuel
Department of Plant Biology, University of Yaounde I, Cameroon
Specialised Centre for Oil Palm Research (CEREPAH) IRAD La Dibamba, Douala, Cameroon
Tissue Culture Laboratory, African Centre for Research on Banana and Plantain, Njombe (CARBAP), Cameroon
Key words: Oil palm, seed position effect, seed heteromorphism, heteroblasty, germination.
Oil palm seed germination is erratic, fluctuating between varieties and within seeds of the same fresh fruit bunch (FFB). The cause of the low rate of germination and within-FFB germination variation is not quite clear. This study was carried out to verify if seed position on the spikelet influences germination capacity (GP) in theoil palm. The study was carried out on open and controlled pollinated FFBs with the criteria for FFB harvesting being 2-5 detached fresh fruits (FF). FF were striping from spikelets collected randomly from base, middle and apex of all FFBs sampled. 60 deep red coloured fruits usually attached at the spikelet apex and 60 orange coloured fruits habitually found at the base of the spikelet were randomly chosen to evaluate some biometric parameters after which the seeds were subjected to the traditional dry heat treatment to assess the GP. The results revealed significance in number, heteromorphism and heteroblasty between apex and basal seeds. The numerical strength/FFB of basal seeds was appreciably greater than that of apex seeds, with a mean of 57.9 % for basal and 42.1 % for apex. However, apex seeds presented a higher germination capacity (46%) than basal seeds (28 %) in open pollinated FFB while in controlled pollinated FFB mean GP of 64% and 48.4% were scored for apical and basal seeds respectively. The fact that basal seeds, greater in numeric strength presented low GP compared to apical seeds could explain the general low germination rate/FFB reported in oil palm.