Influence of "historic" photoperiod during stem elongation on the number of fertile florets in wheat
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Extending the duration of the late reproductive phase in wheat has been proposed as a possible avenue to improve spike fertility. There is a positive correlation between the number of fertile florets and the duration of the stem elongation phase when this phase is varied by extended photoperiod. Photoperiod
treatments imposed during the vegetative period also influence the duration of stem elongation. The present study analysed the effect of long photoperiod (19 h) of different duration (10, 12, 14, 18 or 22 d) imposed before the onset of stem elongation on floret fertility in wheat. It was found that the length of the stem elongation phase was modified by earlier ‘historic ’ photoperiod treatments imposed during previous phases. However, neither the number of fertile florets per spike nor the spikelet fertility was affected significantly by these historic treatments. The results of the study therefore showed that an increased duration of the late reproductive phase was ineffective in increasing the number of fertile florets, unless the length of that phase was directly altered by current photoperiod.