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Research Article Open Access
A study was conducted at the University of Agriculture, Makurdi Nigeria on one of the most popular melon species in Nigeria known as ‘egusi’ melon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum and Nakai]. The aim was to monitor the effect of season and days after anthesis on seed quality. Bulk planting was done in the wet and dry seasons of 2005 and 2007. Ten harvests were made sequentially at three days interval from fruits that developed from tagged flowers beginning from 20 DAA to 47 DAA in 2005 and from 14 DAA at three days interval to 41 DAA in 2007 to monitor fruit and seed development and maturation with time. Significant (P < 0.05) increases in values of fruit length, diameter and weight progressed up to 26 DAA. Dry seed weight increased with maturation and was maximum when the fruits attained between 35 and 40 DAA. Significant increases in 100-seed weight of wet season production ended at 32 DAA whereas in the dry season, significant increases in this trait ceased at 38 and 23 DAA in 2005 and 2007 respectively. The highest seed germination values of 82 and 97.5% were obtained at 47 DAA (the last harvest) in both wet and dry season productions. Seeds produced in the wet season exhibited some degree of dormancy, which was broken during the first year of storage. Fruits harvested at the more matured age (47 DAA) produced better seed longevity than those harvested at earlier ages. It was therefore concluded from the study that delayed harvest of Citrullus lanatus fruits until when all vines and leaves on the plant are dry would result to better seed quality, and that seed crop of Citrullus lanatus should preferably be produced in the wet season for high seed vigour.
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Author(s): Kortse P Aloho Oladiran A Johnson and Kolo M G Mathew
Anthesis, season, dormancy, germination, longevity, germination