FRUIT SET, SEED GERMINATION AND SEEDLING GROWTH OF <em>MESUAFERREA</em> (CLUSIACEAE) IN RELATION TO LIGHT INTENSITY
Keywords:Seed size, number of seeds, light aspect, germination, seedling survival, seedling growth
Variation in fruit set and fruit size on sunlit and shaded parts of individual trees of Mesua ferrea was observed. Fruit set was significantly higher in parts of the individual exposed to sunlight than in parts not exposed to sunlight. However, shaded parts produced heavier and larger fruits than sunlit parts. Seeds from fruits of shaded parts were significantly heavier than that of sunlit parts. One to four seeds are produced in a fruit of M. ferrea. Seed weight decreased with increase in number of seeds per fruit. Seeds from one-seeded fruits were heavier than two-, three- and four-seeded fruits. One-seeded fruits per tree were numerous in parts exposed to sunlight whereas three-seeded fruits were more abundant in parts of the individuals not exposed to sunlight. Seeds from four-seeded fruits germinated earlier and their germination percentage was significantly higher than the other three categories of seeds. In
general, seeds from fruits of shaded parts germinated earlier and showed better
germination than sunlit parts, both in laboratory and greenhouse conditions.
Seedling survival and growth were significantly affected by origin of fruit, either
shaded or sunlit parts, and seed category. Seedlings that emerged from one-seeded fruits survived and grew better than those from two-, three- and four-seeded fruits. Further, seedlings emerged from shaded parts showed better survival and growth than their counterparts from sunlit parts.