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Download the complete crop science project topic and material (chapter 1-5) titled Flowering Phenology And Effect Of Application Of Exogenous Growth Substances On African Pear (Dacryodes Edulis (G. Don) Hj Lam) Flowering And Fruit Set here on See below for the abstract, table of contents, list of figures, list of tables, list of appendices, list of abbreviations and chapter one. Click the DOWNLOAD NOW button to get the complete project work instantly.


PROJECT TOPIC AND MATERIAL ON Flowering Phenology And Effect Of Application Of Exogenous Growth Substances On African Pear (Dacryodes Edulis (G. Don) Hj Lam) Flowering And Fruit Set

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  • Name: Flowering Phenology And Effect Of Application Of Exogenous Growth Substances On African Pear (Dacryodes Edulis (G. Don) Hj Lam) Flowering And Fruit Set
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African pear (Dacryodes edulis (G.  Don) HJ Lam) commonly called bush butter is an indigenous multi-purpose but threatened food fruit tree that supports the livelihood of many households in Nigeria. It serves as a food supplement which is normally available during hunger period. Also its medicinal, nutritional and ecological values are highly cherished. . Unfortunately, the species is still mostly collected from the forests and is yet to be developed. This is largely because most of the information necessary for its selection and improvement is presently seriously lacking. Field study trips were therefore conducted in five states of southeastern and south – south Nigeria (Latitude 050 30’N; Longitude 07024’E; Altitude 440m) during the normal flowering, fruiting and ripening period for three (3) consecutive years to evaluate the flowering phenology and effect of application of exogenous growth regulators on African pear. The different types (cultigens) of the species growing in the forests, distant and nearby farms, including homesteads were used. The exogenous growth regulators experiment, the site was D. edulis orchard at IMSU farm. Due to the fact that many tropical fruit trees flower profusely and majority produce many fruits at the onset. Later most of these fruits if not all may be dropped, posing economic problems for the owners. African pear (D. edulis (G. Don) H.J.Lam) is a typical example. The researcher evaluated four growth regulator treatments and calculated their percentage concentration (%). These were Distilled water (control) (T1), 4% Urea (T2), 4%Giberellic acid(T3 ) and 50 % Coconut Water (T4 ). Sixteen mature African pear trees planted seventeen (17) years ago were used for the study and there were four (4) trees in each block. The treatments were applied three (3) weeks before normal flowering time and at two weeks after flowering . Both field and effect of growth regulators characterization studies were made on the variations observed within the species and between the years and location.  All were laid out in randomized complete block design. The data were collected and analyzed using analysis of variance and regression/correlation in Stat graphics 16.0 software package. Standard errors and percentages were calculated where appropriate. 450trees and 18,000 fruits were sampled. Parameters collected include time for flowering, fruiting, and fruit set. Important pomological characteristics such as fruit weight, pulp weight, seed weight, fruit length, fruit longitudinal circumference etc. Also collected were floral parameters such as number of inflorescence per flowering branch-let, inflorescence length, number of inflorescence per panicle etc and vegetative parameters like vine length, rachis length, number of leave per ranch etc were also collected.  Based on the observed floral attributes, two distinct AP tree species were identified – Female tree, and Male and hermaphrodite tree. Base on pomological attributes, three distinct types of the species were identified, large (big), medium and small. Ten different ripped fruit colors were identified, four unripe fruit colors, time of flowering, fruiting and fruit set varied within location and between locations. Also significant differences were recorded in fruit weight, length, diameter, longitudinal circumference, number of seed, seed weight, and inflorescence length respectively. Significant (p<0.05) differences were observed in mean seed number at Imo state which ranged from 2.46 -9.14, 7.81- and 8.49 – 11.48 in 2013, 2014 and 2015 respectively. The mean number of fruit per inflorescence were statistical (p<0.05) not similar. This ranges from 0.74- 2.73 in 2013, 1.67-3.08 in 2014. Similarly statistical differences were observed in seed weight, leaf length in Imo location, fruit length, seed weight, inflorescence per panicle in Abia State. Also, time of flowering, fruiting and fruit set varies both within and between locations. In terms of flowering and fruiting habit, AP can be seen as an annual since 57% to 77% of the trees are annual while 23% to 43% are biennial and triennial. Fruits drop were very high- 90% to 95% in all the years and locations.

Application of growth regulators significantly enhanced flowering, fruiting and fruit set. The best fruit retention of 76.56 % was obtained by T4 which was however, not significantly (p< 0.05) different from 72.75% fruit set obtained using T3. The control (T1) gave the lowest fruit set of 21.41 % which was however significantly (P < 0.05) different from 66.48% obtained by T2. (NS). Application of 4% Giberellin significantly (P < 0.05) enhances flowering, fruiting and fruit set in African pear (D. edulis). But 50% coconut water was more effective in reducing fruit drop.

Therefore, variations that are of genetic and horticultural interest exist in this multipurpose and endangered tree to warrant a planned selection and improvement program and higher dosage of these growth regulators is encouraged.




Title Pages                                                                                                                                        i Certification                                                                                                                                             ii

Dedication                                                                                                                                      iii

Acknowledgement                                                                                                                          iv

Table of Contents                                                                                                                           vi

List of Tables                                                                                                                                 xii

List of Figures                                                                                                                             xviii

List of Plates                                                                                                                                xxii

Abstract                                                                                                                                      xxiii


1.0       Introduction                                                                                                                          1


2.1       Botany and origin of African pear (Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam)                       5

2.2       Importance of African pear                                                                                                 6

2.3       Phenology of flowering & fruit set                                                                                     8

2.3.1               Temporal patterns in leafing phenology                                                                  12            Community Patterns                                                                                              12            Herbivory as a Selective Force in Leaf Flushing                                                   13            Leaf Fall                                                                                                                  13

2.3.2               Flowering Phenology                                                                                             14            Community Pattern in Flowering Phenology                                             14            Species Patterns in flowering phenology                                                               15            Environmental Cues for Flowering                                                                        16            Competition for Pollinators and Interference between Species.                            16            Pre-dispersal Seed Predation                                                                                 18            Inherent Constraints on Flowering                                                                        19

2.3.3               Fruiting Phenology                                                                                                19            Selective pressure on timing                                                                                   19           Mast Fruiting                                                                                                         20             Keystone Fruit Providers                                                                                        21

2.4                   Floral Physiology                                                                                                    21

2.4.1                Vegetative Growth and Floral Initiation                                                               27

2.4.2                The Role of Plant Growth Regulators (PGRs)                                                      28

2.4.3                The role of Carbohydrates                                                                                     30

2.5.0                Fruit Physiology                                                                                                     31

2.5.1                Regulation of fruit set and growth.                                                                        32

2.6.0                Exogenous Substances of Flowering and Fruit Set                                                32


3.0                 Materials and Methods                                                                                                         37

3.1                  Location and experimental conditions                                                                   37

3.2.0                EXPERIMENT 1                                                                                                  39

3.2                   Flowering Phenology Evaluation and Characterization Studies                          39

3.2.1                Flowering Phenology and Field Survey Studies                                                    39             Experimental Materials and Characterization Studies for Field Survey               39             Data Collection on Flowering Phenology Evaluation

and Characterization Studies for Field Survey                                                  40             Statistical Design and Analysis                                                                           43

3.3.0                EXPERIMENT 2                                                                                             46

3.3.1                Evaluation of Effects of Exogenous Substances

Application on African pear Floral Initiation.                                                      46             Experimental Materials and Procedure                                                                 46             Experimental Design and Treatment                                                        46             Treatments and Preparation Application                                                              47             Data Collection                                                                                                    47             Experimental Design and Analysis                                                                       47

3.4.0                EXPERIMENT 3                                                                                              49

3.4.1                Evaluation of Effects of Exogenous Substances

Application on African Pear Fruit Set.                                                                49             Experimental Materials and Procedures                                                              49             Experimental Design and Data Analyses                                                             51



4.0                   Results                                                                                                                  52

4.1.0                Experiment 1                                                                                                         52

4.1.1                Flowering  Phenology and Characterization Studies                                        52             Phenology of Flowering and Fruiting                                                                    52             Flower to Anthesis                                                                                                 56            Anthesis to Fruit Formation                                                                              59             Fruiting Mean Intensity                                                                                          62             Fruit Formation to Fruit Set                                                                                    65             Percentage Mean Number of Fruits Formed(dropped)/ Retained (Matured)        68             Ripped Fruit Colors                                                                                            71             Unripe Fruit Colors                                                                                           71             Fruiting Habit                                                                                                    75           Branching Habit                                                                                                77           Fruit Shape                                                                                                        79           Flushing Phenology                                                                                               81        Imo state Locations                                                                                           81        Rivers State                                                                                                            82        Abia State                                                                                                              82        Delta State                                                                                                             83        Enugu State                                                                                                           83             Pomological Characterization Studies                                                                   89             Location: Imo State                                                                                               89          Sub Locations: (Umuduru Egbeaguru, IMSU (Uratta), and Logara.                     89       Fruit Weight                                                                                                            89       Pulp weight                                                                                                             90       Pulp Thickness                                                                                                        90       Fruit Longitudinal Circumference                                                                          91       Fruit Length                                                                                                            92          Location: Abia State                                                                                             101          Sub Location (Oboro, Alayi and Ngwa).                                                             101       Fruit Weight:                                                                                                         101       Pulp Weight                                                                                                          102       Pulp Thickness                                                                                                      102       Fruit Longitudinal Circumference                                                                        103       Fruit Length                                                                                                          104         Number of seed:                                                                                                  105          Location: Delta state                                                                                           114          Sub Locations: (Anwai, Ugbolu and Ogwashiukwu)                                          114       Fruit weight                                                                                                     114       Pulp weight                                                                                                         115       Pulp Thickness                                                                                                     115       Fruit Longitudinal Circumference                                                                       116       Fruit Length                                                                                                          117          Location: Enugu State                                                                                        127          Sub Locations: Nsukka, Oba, and Amachala.                                                      127       Fruit Weight                                                                                                     127       Pulp weight                                                                                                      127       Pulp Thickness                                                                                                     128       Fruit Longitudinal Circumference                                                                       129       Fruit Length                                                                                                         130          Location: Rivers state                                                                                          140          Sub Locations: Etche, Elele, and Obiebe.                                                            140       Pulp weight                                                                                                      140       Pulp Thickness                                                                                                     141       Fruit Longitudinal Circumference                                                                       142       Fruit Length                                                                                                         14             Vegetative Morphology                                                                                      154             Nature of Inflorescence                                                                                     154

4.2.0                EXPERIMENT 2

4.2.1                Effect of growth regulators on African pear

(Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam) flowering and fruiting.                          156

4.3.0                Experiment 3.                                                                                                  158

4.3.1                Effect of Growth Regulators on African pear

(D. edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam) Fruit Set and Fruit Drop                                        158


5.0       Discussion                                                                                                                       164

5.1       Flowering Phenology and evaluation Characterization studies                                       164

5.2       Evaluation of xogenous Substance Application on Floral Initiation,

Fruiting and Fruit Set Characterization                                                                           169

Conclusion                                                                                                                     171

Recommendation                                                                                                             173

References                                                                                                                        174

Appendix                                                                                                                          188




The African pear (AP) (Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam) also called bush butter is one of the most important indigenous African Tropical Fruit Trees Species (TFTS).  It is a multipurpose tree used as food, medicine, livestock feed and ornamental purposes.  The fruit is a source of high quality nutritious, non-greasy natural vegetable oil (44 – 67 %) with possibly numerous industrial uses. The African pear also helps in improving the milk quality of nursing mothers (Okorie et al., 2006).  African pear fruit is eaten with maize as butter is eaten with bread.  The flowers are useful in apiculture. In recent years there has been a growing awareness of the potentials of African pear as a major source of plant oil; mainly amino acids and triglycerides (Okorie et al., 2006). Despite all these benefits, the AP has not been researched on like other trees because of some problems and constraints such as high flower abortion, propagation constraints, irregular flowering and high post-harvest loses.

In Nigeria, the horticultural fruit trees that have received more research attention are the exotic fruit trees such as citrus (Citrus sinensis cv) and mango (Magnifera indica L). The Few indigenous fruit trees that had been studied include oil palm (Elaeis guineensis Jacq.) and the kola (Cola acuminate (P. Beauv.) Schott & Endl and Cola nitida (Vent) A. Chev.) (Okorie et al., 2000). African pear is little known outside its place of origin (Okorie, 2001).

The long term neglect of TFTS in the area of research, including the African pear (AP) has given rise to a conspicuous lack of information in the horticultural and pomological attributes of the species. This has greatly hampered efforts in their development and optimum utilization. If the environmental and humanitarian dimensions are to be important considerations in future agricultural development agenda, the bridging of the information gap on tropical fruit tree species is a necessity (Okorie et al., 2000). There is a great deal of intra- specific variations in the flowering phenology and fruit set of the AP to warrant the initiation of a selection and improvement programme.  But this can only effectively commence when the peculiar abortion problems of the African pear are adequately addressed.  This may be achieved through the application of exogenous substances such as auxin, cytokinin, gibberallin, ethylene and abscisic acid.

Knowledge of the AP fruit phenology especially as it relates to flowering and fruit set in the crop is particularly important for the development and improvement of the species.   Phenology is defined as the study of developmental timing in relation to the calendar (Lienth, 1974). This knowledge is of essence because of the following reasons:

  1. In an environment, it is necessary to match the life cycle of the crop to the length of the growing season for optimal crop yield. Such information is needed to develop better cropping systems so that high and/or stable productivity can be achieved.
  2. Introduction of improved genotypes or new crops into regions is largely determined by temperature and phenology (Aitken, 1974).
  3. Phenology is an essential component in whole crop simulation models which can be applied to specific developmental processes to maximize yields.

Application of hormones, particularly to crops plays a key role in increasing yield. These plant hormones also called phytohormones or exogenous substances are chemicals that help in the growth, development and functioning of plants. They also help in the formation of leaves, flowers, stems, and fruits. Most importantly, some of these hormones help in inducing flowering in plants and preventing fruit abortion (Freemen, 1979). Furthermore, these growth regulators (Urea, Coconut water and gibberelin) carry out vital biochemical reactions that are required for plant survival.  These hormones help in determining the sex of flowers, colour of fruits and leaves. They help in the formation of tissues, respiration, energy production and even plant longivity and death.

Citrus and mango growers have been able to improve production and yields by manipulating the phenology and physiology of these crops through the application of hormones (Ali & Lovatt, 1994). It has been reported that sweet oranges may develop two hundred and fifty thousand (250,000) flowers per tree in a bloom season, but only a small amount of these flowers become mature fruits (Domingo et al., 2007). Fruit drop in mango is too high, amounting to about 99% at various stages of growth (Ram, 1983).  Such research works is lacking in African indigenous tropical fruit trees species especially African pear.

It has been observed that most African pear plants flower profusely during their flowering season, but majority of these flowers are aborted during fruit-set (Okorie, 2001).  In the temperate zone, information on the application of exogenous substances to prevent fruit abortion abounds, while in the tropics, there is scarcity of information on flowering phenology and the effects of application of exogenous substances on flowering and fruit set on African indigenous TFTS. Reduction in floral abortion and fruit drop through the application of exogenous substances may result to significant yield increases in African pear.

The growth and development of plants which comprise germination, seedling growth, flowering and fruiting could be influenced positively or negatively by exogenously applied substances.  These substances include growth hormones and other secondary metabolites (Erclishi and Turkai, 1998).

Phenology plays a key role in the survival of any plant.  For example, in the manifestation of the physiological aspect of any plant, the timing of such event as flowering is very critical.

How and why does Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam (African pear) differ in their flowering phenology?

How does the variations in flowering phenology affect fruit set within the species?

How does the variations in floral morphology and physiology (e.g. relative proportion of male, female and hermaphrodite flowers) or time of flowering affect phenology and fruit set between and within African pear (AP) fruit types?

What factors are responsible for both high percentage floral abortion and prematurity fruit drop observed within the species?

How can we improve on the percentage flowering of African pear while reducing the high incidence of floral abortion and fruit drop observed within species?

Can flowering and fruit set in African pear be improved upon by the application of exogenous substances,  and to what extent?

This work was therefore designed to address the above questions.  The timing of life history events may be largely influenced by evolutionary constraints with selection merely modifying a predetermined underlying pattern as with all other genetically controlled characteristics (Chapman et al.,1999).

Therefore, there is the need to study the phenology of flowering in the African pear and the effects of application of exogenous substances on African pear (Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam) flowering and fruit set. The overall objective is not only to provide basic information required for the improvement of the species but also to improve fruit yields within the species.

The specific objectives of this project are as follows:

  1. To study and evaluate the phenology of flowering in African pear (Dacryodes edulis (G. Don) HJ Lam).
  2. To evaluate and assess the intraspecific variations in the flowering phenology and fruit set of the African pear fruit types.
  3. To evaluate the effects of application of exogenous substances (Gibberellin, urea, and coconut water) on flowering and fruit set in African pear.
  4. To determine the appropriate exogenous substance application level most favorable for increased flowering and fruit set in African pear species.





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