Identification and evaluation of new Ornithopus L. germplasm with special reference to seed characters : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the degree of Master of Agricultural Science in Seed Technology at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
Serradella species (Ornithopus L.) are promising annual forage legumes used in many parts of the world, especially in sandy and infertile dryland areas. One hundred and seven accessions of serradella were described and evaluated in Palmerston North , New Zealand. Fifty accessions were part of a 1986 DSIR sponsored forage germplasm collection from Southwest Europe. The rest of the accessions were introduced and/or collected from Australia and New Zealand. The study concentrated on the morphological description and evaluation of agronomic characteristics of the serradella accessions, as well as seed characteristics, including seed development and breaking of hardseed.
Four species (Q. sativus, 0. compressus, 0. perousillus and 0. pinnatus) and one subspecies (Q. sativus subsp. isthmocarous) of serradella were identified and described in terms of their morphological characteristics. Morphological characteristics varied less than agronomic characters in serradella. For most accessions seed multiplication was successful. There was a relationship between flowering date and days to maturity, with the days from appearance of the first flower to seed maturity (harvesting date) decreasing as first flower emergence was delayed. Within species some accessions ripened in significantly shorter periods than others. Some had significantly heavier 1000 segment weight than others. In species normally considered to have a characteristic of high hardseed levels, a wide range in percentage hardseed was found among accessions of yellow serradella and slender serradella. In a study of seed development, seed viability of two serradella cultivars Grasslands 'Koba' (Q. sativus) and a 'hybrid' (Q. sativus x 0. compressus) reached a maximum at 32 days after peak flowering. There was no germination unless fresh seed was dried. Hard seed developed at the age of 16 days in the hybrid. Soaking 0. compressus and 0. pinnatus seed in concentrated sulphuric acid for 30 minutes was the optimum treatment for breaking hard seed without causing seed damage.