Germination responses of Cañahua (Chenopodium pallidicaule Aellen) to temperature and sowing depth: a crop growing under extreme conditions

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Cañahua (Chenopodium pallidicaule) is grown in the Altiplano of Bolivia and Peru, between 3810 and 4200 m a.s.l. Rural indigenous households have cultivated the cañahua as a subsistence crop for millennia. The seeds have a high content and quality of protein. We studied the relation between the following: (i) temperature and seed germination and (ii) the effect of temperature and sowing depth on seedling emergence of five cultivars and one landrace. Three experiments were conducted as follows: (i) seeds of a cultivar were germinated in Petri dishes at six temperatures (3, 5, 10, 14, 20 and 24 °C), (ii) sown at five depths (0, 5, 10, 25 and 50 mm) in a mixed peat soil substrate at three temperatures and (iii) one landrace (Lasta) and 5 cultivars (Lasta and Saihua growth habit) were sown in 6 depth (0, 5, 10, 25, 35 and 50 mm) in a sandy loam at two temperatures (5 and 15 °C). Temperature had significantly effect on the germination percentages of the plants (P < 0.001). Seeds germinated at the lowest temperature (3 °C). The estimated base temperature was close to 0 °C. A polynomial function described well the relation between time to 50% germination (t50) and temperature in the interval from 3 to 24 °C resulting in a linear relationship between germination rate and temperature. Shallow sowing depth (5–25 mm) resulted in 80% germination at 15 °C. There were significant differences of emergence in relationship to burial depth (P < 0.001). Only few seedlings emerged when seeds were sown at 50 mm depth. We did not find significant differences in emergence of seedlings between Lasta and Saihua at 15 °C. Nevertheless, at 5 °C, seedlings of cañahua belonging to the Lasta growth habit form did have higher germination rate as were shown for the Kullaca cultivar and the Umacutama landrace. This may be attributed to larger seed size of these cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agronomy and Crop Science
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)542-553
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2016

    Research areas

  • crop ecology, crop stress physiology, organic farming, seedling emergence, thermal time

ID: 169640225