|Author: ||J. Kotalawala|
The only indigenous species of mango in Ceylon is Mangifera zeylanica Hook.
This species bears very small fruits with comparatively large seeds, and it is not cultivated commercially.
The commercial varieties of mango found and grown in Ceylon are all of the species Mangifera indica L. From the early days of the 'Ceylon Agricultural Society', and even after the creation of the Department of Agriculture in Ceylon, fruit crops received very little attention.
In the late 'twenties' of this century the Royal Botanical Gardens at Peradeniya became interested in introducing different species and varieties of fruit plants.
At this time the need for selection of superior clones and the study of propagation techniques for maintaining selected clones was felt.
Studies were undertaken at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Peradeniya, on the techniques of propagation of fruit plants.
Parsons (1) reported that during the early stages the Department of Agriculture, and private nurserymen in Ceylon used approach grafting or inarching as the standard method for the propagation of mango.
This method had given a very high percentage of success, but the number of grafts produced from a particular mother tree was limited.
It is well known that this method is cumbersome and wasteful, and has ceased to be popular.
About 1945 budding of mango on stocks raised in nursery beds was adopted as the standard practice.
Paul and Gunaratnam (2, 3) conducted a series of trials in Jaffna and from this work reported that bud grafted plants were more vigorous than inarched or cleft grafted plants.
The popular varieties of mango grown in Ceylon such as Karutha Colomban, Vallai Columban, Parrot, Peterpassand etc. produce polyembryonic seeds.
Seedling progenies of these varieties have therefore maintained a very high degree of uniformity.
Production of true to type progenies from the nucellar seedlings of these poly-embryonic varieties has been the reason for over 90 per cent of the population of mango trees in this country to be grown from seedlings.
Observations regarding techniques of vegetative propagation are described in the following paragraphs.
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