, Volume 40, Issue 1, pp 9-18
Date: 18 Nov 2009

Seed maturity indicators in Myrica esculenta, Buch-Ham. Ex. D.Don.: a multipurpose tree species of subtropical-temperate Himalayan region

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Abstract

Myrica esculenta, Buch-Ham. Ex. D.Don is a common under-canopy associate of chir pine and banj oak forests in the Kumaun and Garhwal Himalayas. The species commonly known as Kaiphal is a small moderate sized evergreen dioecious tree. The species is well known for its edible fruit and other by products and has emerged as a potential income generating species in the Kumaun and Garhwal region. The regeneration of Myrica esculenta is poor in natural habitats mainly due to intense anthropogenic pressure on it. To synchronize artificial regeneration of such species exact knowledge of maturity time is essential to avoid the collection of immature and non-viable seeds. Fruits of Myrica esculenta were collected from nine sites varying from lower, mid and high range of species distribution (900–2,100 masl) for assessing seed maturation indicators. Across all the sites the colour change from green to dark red/blackish red appears as one of the indicator of maturity. In addition to the colour change seed maturity and maximum germination was found in seeds when the weight of 100 fruits was between 41 and 60 g, fruit moisture content between 62 and 69% and seed moisture content between 30 and 32%.