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A field study of the number of main shoot leaves in wheat in relation to vernalization and photoperiod

  • E. J. M. Kirby (a1)


The number of leaves formed on the main shoot of a wheat plant is an important developmental feature, and a method of predicting this is essential for computer simulation of development.

A model function was used to estimate vernalization from simulated sowing dates throughout a season. When expressed in terms of thermal time, it was estimated that a plant might be fully vernalized soon after seedling emergence or take up to about 1000 °Cd, depending on sowing date. When the simulated progress of vernalization was related to main shoot development (primordium initiation and leaf emergence) it was found that there were substantial differences between sowings in the rate of vernalization at comparable stages of apex development.

A number of field experiments done in Britain from 1980 to 1984 with prominent commercial varieties, sown at various times from September to March, were analysed in terms of the thermal time to full vernalization and the photoperiod at the time of full vernalization, with vernalization simulated by the model function. In both winter and spring varieties, both of these variables significantly affected the number of main shoot leaves. Multiple linear regression using these two variables accounted for between 70 and 90% of the variance in leaf number, depending on variety.



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A field study of the number of main shoot leaves in wheat in relation to vernalization and photoperiod

  • E. J. M. Kirby (a1)


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