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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 805: VIII International Protea Research Symposium

LOW FRUIT AND SEED SET OF WARATAH (TELOPEA SPECIOSISSIMA R.BR.): IMPLICATIONS FOR BREEDING

Author:   C.A. Offord
Keywords:   Proteaceae, Australia, nutrition
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2008.805.11
Abstract:
Fruit development from manual or open-pollinated flowers of waratah, (Telopea speciosissima R.Br., family Proteaceae), was noticeable approximately 20 days after perianth opening (generally 18 days after peak stigma receptivity). Most mature fruit were located in the middle rows of the inflorescence and contained an average of eight viable seeds, regardless of whether they were open or manually pollinated. About 45% of ovules in fruits developed into seeds. Fruits that did not contain viable seeds did not develop to maturity. In common with many other Proteaceae species, the proportion of waratah flowers developing into mature fruit was very low, usually less than 10% of flowers on the inflorescence. Although a four-fold increase in fruit-set was observed in plants supplied with extra nutrients above that considered adequate for normal waratah growth, there appear to be factors other than viable pollen availability or nutrition that limit fruit-set in this species because fruit set was still low and consistent with other studies on Proteaceae fruit set. The relevance of the findings in this study are discussed in relation to development of effective hybridisation techniques for improvement for cut flower production of waratah.

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