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ABSTRACT

The research was conducted to determine the most effective physical and
Sulphuric acid treatment suitable for faster germination in four indigenous
Savanna Palm trees; Borassus aethiopum, Hyphaene thebaica, Phoenix reclinata
and Raphia sudanica. From the four species studied, result of analysis of
variance indicated that there was a significant difference among average days for
germination, percentage germination and average height (P < 0.05). Seeds of
the four species were found to have mechanical dormancy due to hard seed
coats. Treatment with concentrated Sulphuric acid induced germination only in
Hyphaene and to a lesser extent in Borassus. All treatments had significant
effects on parameters tested on the four species, except in Borassus where there
was no significant effect on percentage germination. The Savanna Palms were
shown to exhibit a cryptogeal type of germination, which took place in two
stages: (i) preparatory germination (ii) germination proper.

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENT. PAGE.
Title – – – – – – – – – – – i
Declaration – – – – – – – – – ii
Certification – – – – – – – – – iii
Dedication – – – – – – – – – iv
Acknowledgement – – – – – – – – v
Abstract – – – – – – – – – vii
Table of content – – – – – – – – viii
List of tables – – – – – – – – – xi
List of plates- – – – – – – – – – xii
List of appendices – – – – – – – – xiii
ix
CHAPTER ONE.
1.1 Introduction – – – – – – – – 1
1.2 Origin and distribution of Palms – – – – 2
1.3 Morphological description of the Savanna Palms – – 3
1.3.1 Borassus aethiopum – – – – – – 3
1.3.2 Hyphaene thebaica – – – – – – 4
1.3.3 Phoenix reclinata – – – – – – 5
1.3.4 Raphia sudanica – – – – – – – 6
1.4 Statement of problem – – – – – – 7
1.5 Justification – – – – – – – – 8
1.6 Aim and objectives – – – – – – – 8
CHAPTER TWO.
2.0 Literature review – – – – – – – 9
2.1 Germination in Palms – – – – – – 12
2.2 Seedling characteristics – – – – – – 15
CHAPTER THREE.
3.1 Materials and method – – – – – – 18
3.2 Study area – – – – – – – – 19
3.3 Treatments – – – – – – – – 19
3.4 Planting – – – – – – – – 20
3.5 Observation and data collection. – – – – – 20
3.6 Seedling height and root length – – – – – 21
x
3.7 Statistical analysis – – – – – – – 21
CHAPTER FOUR.
4.0 Results – – – – – – – – 22
4.1 Result of analysis of variance for all treatments on Borassus – 22
4.1.1 The effects of the different treatments on the germination of Borassus 22
4.2 Result of analysis of variance for all treatments on Hyphaene – 25
4.2.1The effects of the different treatments on the germination of Hyphaene 25
4.3 Result of analysis of variance for all treatments on Phoenix – – 28
4.3.1 The effects of the different treatments on the germination of
Phoenix – – – – – – – – 28
4.4. Mode of germination and seedling characteristics. – – 31
4.4.1. Borassus – – – – – – – – 31
4.4.2. Hyphaene – – – – – – – – 32
4.4.3. Phoenix – – – – – – – – 33
4.4.4. Raphia – – – – – – – – 34
CHAPTER FIVE.
5.1 Discussion – – – – – – – – 35
5.2 Mode of germination and seedling characteristics. – – 38
5.2.1. Borassus – – – – – – – – 38
5.2.2. Hyphaene – – – – – – – – 40
5.2.3. Phoenix – – – – – – – – 42
5.2.4. Raphia – – – – – – – – 43
xi
5.3 Summary – – – – – – – – 45
5.4 Conclusion – – – – – – – – 46
5.5 Recommendations – – – – – – – 46
5.6 References – – – – – – – – 48
5.7 Appendix – – – – – – – – 69

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.1 INTRODUCTION
Palms belong to the Family Palmae. About 225 genera with 2,600
species have been reported by Purseglove, (1974). Rendle, (1979),
reported 140 genera with 1,200 species world over. While Tomlinson,
(1961), Watson and Dallwitz (2000) reported about 205 genera with 2,500
species. Eight genera with sixteen different species are found in Nigeria
(Keay, 1964).
Economically, Savanna Palm trees are very important. For example,
these trees are sources of wood, fuel, fodder, while some play prominent
roles in nutrient recycling and in agro-forestry practices (Conelly and
Wilson, 2001). Sap of many species like Hyphaene , Phoenix, Cocos etc,
yielded sugar and palm wine (about 500 – 1212 litres per annum) FAO,
(2000). Fibers obtained from leaves are woven into mats, ropes, fans,
bags, baskets, fish traps and other domestic utensils while the stem is
used for planks (Hutchinson and Dalziel, 1937, Etejere, et al, 1982,
Agboola and Adedire 1985, NIFOR, 1989, Esenowo, and Adebona, 1990,
Conelly and Wilson, 2001).
Palm trees are able to withstand adverse conditions but they grow
very slowly (Tomlinson, 1961). Seeds of most forest trees species are
usually dormant and therefore do not germinate readily (Olofinboba,
1979, Agboola and Etejere, 1991, and Agboola, 1995). Some take one to
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several months to germinate much longer than many trees. The hard
layer commonly present in the fruit wall probably delays germination until
it has softened (Sweeney, 1956, Whitmore, 1977, Werker, 1980, Tran ad
Cavanagh 1984, Bewley and Black 1994). The plants of Savanna and
other tropical Communities with well marked layers of grass are usually
subjected to annual grass fires (Jackson,1968 Agboola, 1995) in addition
early growth of Palm trees from seeds is slow and the young Palm has to
build up its stem to full width before it can begin to grow upwards. Like
most other tropical plants, many of the palm seedlings do not survive for
long (Whitmore, 1977, Collingbourn, 2001).
Re-afforestation practices are usually centered on the generation of
exotic and ornamental trees rather than the native trees particularly Palm
trees. In addition, the indigenous Savanna Palm trees are exploited
seriously for their economic and nutritional values. This is an additional
reason why Palm trees in the Savanna region have a very low population
and they are seriously threatened with extinction. Thus, there is the need
to save the already existing Palm trees in this region and increase their
population.
1.2 ORIGIN AND DISTRIBUTION OF THE PALMS.
Evidence of fossil remains, including stem, leaves and fruits has shown
that palms reached further North in the late Cretaceous and Eocene periods.
Likewise, the Family was well represented in central Europe and extended far
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North during the Oligocene and Miocene periods (Corner, 1966, Rendle 1979).
The Palm Family is pan tropical, but with sub tropical extention into California,
North Carolina, Chile, Argentina, Italy, Greece, Asia minor; across North India
and China to Korea, South Japan, NewZealand and South Africa. The four genera
which occur both in Africa and Asia are Phoenix, Hyphaene, Borassus and
Calamus (Corner, 1966).
From Swampy origin palms advanced with diminishing variety and greater
specialization, to hill sides, mountains, savanna, deserts, seashores and borders
of temperate regions. Gradually, they were able to survive the increasing
adversity of lowered temperature and water supply (Corner, 1966).
1.3 MORPHOLOGICAL DESCRIPTION OF THE SAVANNA
PALMS UNDER STUDY
1.3.1 Borassus athiopum. Hausa: ‘Giginya’. Igbo: ‘Ubiri’. Yoruba:
‘Agbon – eye’.
Wide spread in Africa, locally abundant in Nigeria. It is a dioecious
fan palm of about 24 meters high with 1.8 meters girth. Bark is grey and
hard, more or less smooth above the middle in old trees, with remains of
leaf stalk persisting in young trees. Leaves are palmate and V – Shaped
about 3.5 meters long, divided to the middle into numerous narrow
segments. It flowers in April with male and female flowers on separate
trees. The Fruits formed around April, are very persistent and ripen shortly
before the new flowers appear; they are orange, sweetly scented more or
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less globose but flattened from top to the bottom, about 12 cm. in
diameter, with the enlarged calyx forming a cup at the base; skin is
smooth and tough, enclosing an edible fibrous pulp surrounding 1 – 3
hard seeds (Keay, 1964, Puseglove 1975) plate Ia/IIIa.
1.3.2. Hyphaene thebaica (Dum palm) Hausa: ‘Goriba’
Wide spread in Middle East and Western India. It also extends from
Senegal to Egypt, Sudan and Nigeria. It grows wild in the drier Savanna
region and it is a dioecious palm with Y – branched trunk which is a rare
character among the palms. It is 9 – 15 meters high, and 90-cm. girth. It
is fairly smooth, with scars of fallen leaves. Leaves are palmate and Vshaped;
about 1.2 meters long with blades divided onto segments. Leaf
stalk is about 60cm long armed with curved thorns. It flowers in March
with male and females on separate trees. It fruits in March persisting till
next season flowers appear. The flowers are ovoid or slightly three lobed,
up to 7.5 meters long, with a smooth hard brown coat containing a large
and very hard stone. Young leaves are plated in strips, which are made
into Mats, Baskets, Hats, etc. terminal meristem is tapped for palm wine
(Keay, 1964, Purseglove, 1974) plate Ib /IIIb.
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1.3.3. Phoenix reclinata (Wild Date) Hausa: ‘Kajinjiri’.
Igbo: ‘Ngala’. Yoruba: ‘Ookun’.
Wide spread in tropical and South Africa, and grows in coastal swamps
and swampy grounds in the Savanna regions. Stem produces basal
suckers forming clumps. It has a spiny dark and rough surface due to leaf
remains. Stem is about 30 meters high and 60cm in girth.
Leaf is pinnate and V – shaped. It is about 1.5 – 3 meters long,
with lower leaflets modified into sharp spines of about 5 – 6 cm long.
Upper leaflets are about 30 cm long, by 2 cm broad. It flowers in October
– May. Male and female flowers are on separate trees. It fruits around
February. The fruits are about 2cm long, orange, turning dark brown
when mature, edible and also medicinally useful e.g. burnt seeds are
made into an ointment for treatment of ulcer. Strips of young fronds and
their midribs are used to weave Mats, Bags, Hats, Band sieves etc. Stems
are used for rafters, bed spreads etc. (Keay, 1964, Purseglove, 1974).
Seeds with narrow grooves are suspected to be males while those with
wider grooves, females. Spines fro leaves are used as tooth picks and fish
traps (Okolo, et al, 2000). Plate IIa/IIIc.
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1.3.4. Raphia sudanica. Hausa: ‘Tukurwa’. Igbo: ‘Ngwo’.
Yoruba: ‘ Eriko’.
Wide spread in Senegal and Northern Nigeria. It is a tree with a stout trunk usually 2
– 3 meters high, but reaching 8 meters. Leaves are pinnate and – shaped, about 10
meters long, stiff and rather upright, leaflets margins and their midrib armed with fine
blackish spines. It fruits only once before it dies producing up to 500 – 10,000 fruits;
ellipsoid to top shaped 5 – 7 cm long by 3.5 – 5 cm across, covered with close fitting
shiny dark mahogany – brown scales in 9 – 10 vertical rows; scales are flat or slightly
convex. Palm wine is obtained by tapping the inflorescence before it emerges.
Scale – like flowers are present with the females located at the
base while the males at the tip. Raphia fibre obtained from unopened
leaflets is used in making Mats, Handbags, Hammocks and could be
woven into Clothes, Ropes, Brushes etc. Mesocarp yields oil, which can be
used industrially to manufacture cosmetics, hair cream and as food. Stems
armed with petioles are raw materials to pulp and paper industries. It is
hoped that with completion of investigation into the pulping of Raphia
trunk and leaves, Nigeria will save a lot of foreign exchange currently
used to import long fibered pulp abroad
(Keay, 1964, Purseglove, 1974, NIFOR, 1989). Plate IIb/IIId.
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1.4 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Seeds of most trees are usually dormant and therefore, do not
germinate readily (Olataye, 1968, Olofinboba, 1979, Agboola and Etejere,
1991, Agboola, 1995) David, 1999).
In nature, dormancy is overcome by abrasion or decay of seed
coats, leaching out of inhibitory compounds on seed coats or in the
embryo or by experiencing environmental conditions like chilling,
fluctuating temperatures, or specific photoperiods which initiate the
biochemical process that breaks dormancy (Michael (1993). The
aforementioned processes were found to be very slow (Opeke, 1982,
NIFOR, 1985, Agboola, 1995).
Dormancy has artificially been broken by a number of processes
used by many workers throughout the world. Through scarification by
scratching seeds with sand, paper, cutting with knife, pounding with sand,
robbing over an abrasive slab, soaking in cold / hot water, dry or wet heat
method, inoculation or the use of chemicals. These processes hastened
faster germination and efficient growth. (Hussey 1958, Kozlowski, 1972,
Camont and Jacquemared 1977, Kin 1981, Opeke, 1982, Nifor, 1985,
Addae 1988, Agboola and Adedire 1995, F.A.O 2001).
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1.5 JUSTIFICATION
1. There is the need to find out faster methods of growing palm trees
easily for their population to increase.
2. There is the need to cultivate them in the Botanical gardens for
study and research purposes.
This project was therefore designed with the following aim and objectives.
1.6 AIM AND OBJECTIVES
The aim of this study was to increase the population of the indigenous
Savanna Palm trees through the following objectives:
1. To determine the effective physical and chemical treatment that
will give faster germination in the Savanna Palm seeds.
2. To determine the type of germination common to Savanna Palm
trees and their seedling characteristics.

 

 

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