Annals of Botany (1979), 43, 467-473
by R. Sheldrake, N.P. Saxena


In chickpeas (Cicer arietinum) flowering and pod development proceed acropetally. In plants grown under normal field conditions at Hyderabad, in peninsular India, and at Hissar in north India, at successively apical nodes of the branches there was a decline in pod number per node, weight per pod, seed number per pod and/or weight per seed. The percentage of nitrogen in the seeds was the same in earlier- and later-formed pods at Hyderabad; at Hissar the later-formed seeds contained a higher percentage. Earlier- and later-formed flowers contained similar numbers of ovules. The decline in seed number and/or weight per seed in the later-formed pods of 28 out of 29 cultivars indicated that pod-filling was limited by the supply of assimilates or other nutrients. By contrast, in one exceptionally small-seeded cultivar there was no decline in the number or weight of seeds in later-formed pods, indicating that yield was limited by 'sink' size.

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