Master of Science (MS)
Plant, Environmental Management and Soil Sciences
Smooth cordgrass (S. alterniflora) is a perennial grass that dominates the salt marsh in tidal wetlands along the Atlantic and Gulf Coast of North America and has been used for preventing soil erosion and restoring wetlands. Accessions collected from south Louisiana were studied to investigate flowering phenology, pollen viability, crossability, and seed production. S. alterniflora exhibited protogynous flowering where stigmas exserted 2 to 5 days from the floret prior to anthesis. Pollen shed primarily between 8:00 and 10:00 AM. Pollens were viable with average germination of 69% and stigma was receptive after exsertion. Pollen germinated in 15 minutes and pollen tubes reached micropyle in 55 to 75 minutes after contacting stigma. Protogyny could be used to produce controlled hybrid without emasculation and it could reduce tedious labor required for making crosses. S. alterniflora was cross-pollinated with 52% seed set for cross-pollination and 26% for self-pollination. Flowering started in early July and ended by the middle of October with a flowering peak between early September and early October. During the flowering peak, seed set, kernel weight, and seed viability were positively correlated to flowering date while unfilled and total seeds/panicle were negatively correlated with flowering date. Kernel weight, flowering date, seed weight/panicle, and panicle height were positively correlated with seed set. Plant flowering during the peak period might produce better seed set and seed weight. Field investigation showed an average seed set of 47% with range from 0 to 94% for S. alterniflora, which provided large opportunity for selection. Several lines with improved characteristics were selected and would be valuable for recurrent selection program with an objective of developing improved S. alterniflora populations. However, short term breeding objective should be focused on selection of plants from native collection that have high percentage of seed set, germination, and broad adaptability.
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Fang, Xiaobing, "Reproductive biology of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora)" (2002). LSU Master's Theses. 750.
Bradley C. Venuto