EFFECT OF COLLECTION DATE ON CONE AND SEED CHARACTERISTICS IN HIMALAYAN CYPRESS (<em>CUPRESSUS</em> <em>TORULOSA</em>)
Keywords:Cone colour, Himalaya, maturation, moisture content
The failure of plantation programmes may be due to the collection of immature and non-viable seeds. Cupressus torulosa is an important tree species in the central and western Himalaya and is distributed between 1700 and 2700 m asl. Change in colour of cone from grey to dark brown at two collection sites in this study indicated that the seeds were sufficiently mature for collection. Changes in colour are much easier to determine than other characteristics which require laboratory facilities. Cone moisture content reached 44.5 to 47.2% and seed
moisture content 14.9 to 17.3% towards maturity at both the sites. Size and weight of cone were significantly lower, but weight of seed was higher (p < 0.01) at site 2 compared with site 1. Cone and seed moisture contents were negatively correlated with seed germination. Electrical conductivity of seeds was positively correlated (r = 0.74) with germination but negatively correlated (r = - 0.70) with seed moisture content. Seed germination significantly increased from 4.8 to 41.8% towards maturity at both sites. Low germination occurred during the initial stages of seed collection, which may be due to empty seeds and high indistinct embryo percentage (immature seed). Seed maturity period was between late March and mid April.