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Growth analysis of cacao seedlings


, : Growth analysis of cacao seedlings. Ann Botany 14(54): 291-306

The growth of cacao during the first 30 weeks after planting, was studied by taking harvest of seedlings at intervals of 6 weeks. The fresh and dry wts. of each organ individually were determined, and also the area of each leaf. Diagrams are presented showing the mean distr. of dry matter, and water between organs at each harvest. Estimates of changes in wt. of the plant and.its parts were improved by measuring the intact plants before harvest and correcting for differences in these measurements. The mean relative growth rate of all plants between 6 weeks and 30 weeks from planting was 1.29% per day; it varied with the stage of development. The major part of the gain in dry matter occurred in roots and young leaves; the proportion of this gain occurring in the stems increased during the period of the expt., while that in the older leaves decreased but remained positive. Though in individual plants growth in leaf area followed a very irregular course, the mean rate showed a progressive increase through the period of the expt. The net assimilation rate of each plant was computed by the usual method, and by another method (considered preferable in this case) involving daily estimates of leaf area. The net assimilation rate between 6 and 30 weeks from plants was 0.072 g./sq. dm./week, but it showed a tendency to increase during the period. Distr. of water in the seedling agreed in general with that of dry matter, but the older leaves were losing water at a time when they were still gaining in dry matter. Between 6 weeks and 24 weeks from planting there was a decline in the percentage water-content of the plant and of its various organs, this decline being particularly marked in the roots. The percentage water-content of the young leaves remained nearly constant until half the final area was attained, and then began to decline, this decline continuing for some months after expansion was complete. Seed from 4 different female parents was used in the expt., and it was found that certain of the growth characteristics studied were affected by this factor.

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