Research Article

Quantitative Analysis of Relationships Between Panicle Size and Fruit Traits in Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.)

Narayan Lal, Abhay Kumar and Vishal Nath

  • Page No:  381 - 386
  • Published online: 29 Aug 2020
  • DOI : HTTPS://DOI.ORG/10.23910/1.2020.2127

  • Abstract
  •  abhayiari@gmail.com

An experiment was conducted to assess the effect of inflorescence on fruit set, yield and quality of three litchi cultivars viz., Rose Scented, Mandaraji and Seedless Late in 2017 and 2018 at ICAR-National Research Centre on Litchi, Muzaffarpur, Bihar. Panicle length determined fruit set in Rose Scented and Mandaraji, and panicle length and girth are important for fruit retention in Seedless Late. Results revealed that there was a strong correlation between the length and width of panicle in cultivar Rose Scented (0.989), Mandaraji (0.970) and Seedless Late (0.771). The length of panicle was highly and positively correlated with fruit set in cultivar Rose Scented (0.896), Mandaraji (0.955) and Seedless Late (0.943) and it was also positively and strongly correlated with girth of panicle in cultivar Rose Scented (0.763) and Seedless Late (0.966) and weakly correlated in Mandaraji (0.526). A strong correlation between girth of panicle with fruit set in both years was also observed in Rose Scented (0.882) and Seedless Late (0.940). A very strong correlation between girth of panicle and fruit weight was observed in Seedless Late (0.608) in both the year. The optimum girth of panicle was 4.23 mm in Mandaraji for higher fruit set. However, in Seedless Late, fruit set increased with increase in panicle length and girth. For genetic improvement in litchi, emphasis on length and girth of panicle should be given during selection of improved cultivars.

Keywords :   Litchi, correlation, panicle, fruit set, improvement

  • Introduction

    Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) is an evergreen subtropical fruit tree and important member of family Sapindaceae (Lal et al., 2017a), which has strong mycorrhizal association (Lal and Nath, 2020a). Litchi is evergreen sub-tropical fruit crops which has high nutritive and medicinal values. It is good source of Vitamin-C (Lal, 2018) and phenolics (Lal et al., 2018a). Litchi is highly specific to its climatic requirements particularly low temperature for bumper flowering and fruiting and this is the reason of its restricted cultivation in few countries and limited states in India. Litchi is highly sensitive to change in climatic condition and selective to the environmental factors (Purbey et al., 2019a). Total by-product in litchi is found to the tune of 19.85 to 59.54% in different genotypes fractioning with 6.96 to 22.58% seed and 12.89 to 36.96% pericarp. Litchi Pericarp and seeds are good source of total phenol with 7.5-62.2 mg GAE/g and 23.01–85.57 mg GAE/g, respectively (Lal et al., 2018a). It produces inflorescence called panicle which is the fruiting body for ensuring the final yield of litchi and emergence and size of panicle is also influenced by phenol content in the tree (Lal et al., 2018b). Many genotypes bear loose or compact panicle which also depends on climatic condition. However, none of the litchi cultivars follow regular pattern of flowering during young stages (Lal et al., 2019d). There are three types of flower on the inflorescence in litchi: male (M1), pseudo-hermaphrodite male (M2) and pseudo-hermaphrodite female (F) flowers. Male flowers bloom first followed by an overlapping successions of female flowers with pseudo-hermaphrodite male and flowers bloom for 7-10 days and the number of flowers on a single inflorescence vary from hundreds to several thousand (Lal, 2018). Pollen grains of M2 flowers are more viable and fruit set depends on the sources of pollen grains (Lal et al., 2019a and 2019b). However, fluctuation in temperature significantly affects fruit retention influenced by borer (Lal et al., 2019c). Litchi suffers from some problems viz., fruit drop (Lal et al., 2017b and c), sun burn and fruit cracking (Lal et al., 2018c), pericarp browning (Purbey et al., 2019b). Aberrant weather influences the productivity and quality of litchi (Lal and Nath, 2020b).  Fruit set varies with cultivars in fruit crops (Adhikary et al., 2019; Hada and Singh 2017). Nutrients and plant growth regulators also affected fruit set, yield and quality of fruits (Singh et al., 2016; Lal et al., 2013). Fruit set vary with cultivars grown in the same condition and nutritional condition of plants as highest fruit set (23.96%) and lowest fruit drop (13.06%) was recorded in trees fertilized with calcium nitrate+urea (Jeet et al., 2016). Indian litchi can be categorized mainly into three distinct groups: Shahi, China and Bedana groups. Each group falls many cultivars like Rose Scented, Mandaraji and Bedana comes under these three groups, respectively. These three groups are easily distinguished based on leaf, panicle and fruit characters. Panicle is fruiting body in litchi and its length and girth is very important for maximum production of litchi. The objective of this experiment was to assess the effect of panicle on fruit weight and quality of litchi.


  • Materials and Methods

    2.1.  Experimental site

    An experiment was conducted in 2017 and 2018 in National Active Germplasm Site (NAGS) ICAR-National Research Centre on Litchi, Muzaffarpur (Bihar) located at 26°5’87” N latitude, 85°26’64” E longitude at an elevation of 210 m above msl to assess the relationship between panicle size and fruit traits in three cultivars. The soil type of the site was alluvial with sandy loam texture having calcareous in nature with pH ranging from 7.5-8.0. The temperature varied from 30°C to 43 °C in summer and 5 °C to 10 °C in winter. The region was characterized by dry and hot summer and cold winter with heavy rainfall during rainy season. The onset of monsoon usually occurs in the second or third week of June and continues in appreciable amount up to mid of September. Three cultivars of litchi namely Mandaraji, Rose Scented and Seedless Late of 10 years old were selected and experiment was laid out in randomized block design (RBD) with three replications. The uniform cultural practices were provided to each all the selected plants.

    2.2.  Method of data collection

    For taking observations, ten shoots were tagged in each cultivar in four directions. The length width and girth of panicle were measured at fully developed stage before opening of male flowers (M1). The length and width of panicle was recorded at the longest and widest part of each panicle and express in centimeter while girth of panicle was measured at the base of shoot and expressed in millimeter.  The number of fruits at harvest were counted from the tagged panicle and average number of fruit set was recorded. Total soluble solids in the fruits were recorded at room temperature using digital refractometer and were expressed in terms of 0Brix. Five fruits per replication were taken from each treatment for taking the average value. The data was subjected to statistical analysis by using Analysis of variance (Burton, 1952). Critical difference values at p<0.05 were used to determine the significance of difference between treatment means. The correlation and regression of panicle data were analyzed by SAS software.


  • Results and Discussion

    The characteristics of three cultivars are presented in Table 1. Rose Scented produced maximum length of panicle (30.89 cm) whereas Seedless Late produced least length of panicle (20.19 cm). Similarly, Rose Scented produced maximum width of panicle (20.23 cm) and Seedless Late produced the least (11.14 cm). The variations in panicle length are also reported by earlier worker (Khurshid et al., 2004). The differences might be due to genetic make up of the cultivars and their response to the environmental conditions. The variations in number of fruit set have been found with maximum in Mandaraji (9.14) and least in Seedless Late (5.37). The cultivars also showed variations in fruit weight with maximum in Seedless Late (23.18 g) and least in Mandaraji (20.40 g). The fruit weight in litchi cultivar depend on genetic factors (Khurshid et al., 2004; Lal, 2018), nutrition (Cronje et al., 2009) and fruit orientation (Waseem et al., 2002). The TSS content of fruit varied among cultivars with maximum in Rose Scented (20.05 Brix) and least in Seedless Late (19.63 Brix). Haq and Rab (2012) reported significantly higher TSS in Gola (22.13%) and lowest in Bedana (16.27%). The variation in total soluble solids has been reported by other workers (Waseem et al., 2002; Islam etal., 2003).  Pulp is edible portion of litchi and seedless Late exhibited highest pulp (74.65%) whereas Rose Scented and Mandaraji exhibited less than 60% pulp content. The variation in pulp content was due to genotypic variation. The variation in pulp content was also reported by Khurshid et al. (2004), and Singh and Nath et al. (2012).  The considerable variation in titratable acidity was found in the present study which was also reported by other workers Lal (2018), and Haq and Rab (2012).


    3.1.  Effect of panicle length on width

    Throughout the inflorescence development period, a strong positive correlation was observed between the length and width of panicle over the times in both years in all three cultivars viz., Rose Scented (0.989), Mandaraji (0.970) and Seedless Late (0.771). Lee (2006) indicated that the number of florets per inflorescence was correlated to the length of the inflorescence in ‘Yu Her Pau’. Panicle width increased with the increment in length in all three cultivars of litchi. Very strong correlation between panicle length and width in Rose Scented and Mandaraji showed large size of panicle which carried maximum number of flowers and fruits resulted higher production in Rose Scented and Mandaraji as compared to Seedless Late.

    3.2.  Effect of panicle length on fruit set

    There was a strong positive correlation between panicle length and fruit set over the times in both years in cultivar Rose Scented (0.896), Mandaraji (0.955) and Seedless Late (0.943). Chen et al. (2013) showed a strong relationship between the number of fruit set and length of the inflorescence, with optimum length about 20 cm. Panicle was fruiting body which governed the number of flowers produced and responsible for success of fruit set in litchi. Larger size of panicle carried more number of flowers which turned into maximum number of fruit. This indicated that optimum size of panicle is required for higher production of fruits in litchi. The length of panicle exerts a great impact on litchi production by affecting the behavior of pollinators in two ways; first by creating more conspicuous visual signals that attract pollinators more effectively and second by increasing the number of flowers that pollinators probe in a single visit, thus increasing the probability of accumulating or depositing pollen. Pollinator attraction is dependent only on the number of flowers open at a given time and not on the total number of flowers produced. However, larger panicle carried maximum number of female flowers which results into more number of fruit set. Suetsugu et al. (2015) found positive correlation between the proportion of flowers developing into fruit and the number of flowers per inflorescence. Adhikary et al. (2019) reported that fruit set directly correlated with lower sex ratio in ber. The variation in fruit set is entirely based on the genetic makeup of cultivars, pollen fertility and prevailing climatic conditions (Kumari et al., 2016). The results revealed that development of panicle length should be allowed to the maximum possible extend for higher fruit set.

    3.3.  Effect of panicle length on girth

    A strong positive correlation between length and girth of panicle was found over the times in both years in cultivar Rose Scented (0.763) and Seedless Late (0.966) while Mandaraji showed moderate positive correlation (0.526). A very strong positive correlation between length and girth of panicle in Seedless Late (0.966) observed in our study was due to genetic make-up of the plant in having mechanism that naturally restrict the length of panicle. The maximum length of panicle in Seedless Late was 30 cm making it efficiently enough to use food material in improving the girth of panicle while in Rose Scented and Mandaraji, length of panicle were more (40 cm) (Table 2).


    3.4.  Effect of panicle length on fruit weight

    A week positive correlation between panicle length and fruit weight was found over the times in both the year in cultivars Rose Scented (0.453) and Mandaraji (0.397) while Seedless Late showed moderate positive correlation (0.651). In Seedless Late, size of panicle was comparatively short than Rose Scented and Mandaraji which has conserved food metabolites and used in development of fruit resulted good weight of fruit.

    3.5.  Effect of panicle girth on fruit set

    All cultivars exhibited a very strong positive correlation between girth of panicle and fruit set over times in both years viz., Rose Scented (0.882) and Seedless Late (0.940) while Mandaraji showed moderate positive correlation (0.568). In Mandaraji, number of fruit set was highest (13.85) when girth of panicle was about 4.23 mm while in Rose Scented and Seedless Late fruit set increases with increased in girth of panicle. Lauri et al. (1996) reported positive relationship between inflorescence development and the ability to set one or more fruit. Inflorescence size strongly determines fruit-set capacity. The ability of a flower bud to set fruit is usually expressed through the `flower quality’ or `floral strength’ concept. It may be applied to either individual flowers or inflorescences (May, 1970; Abbott, 1977). Higher value of auxin:gibberellin ratio promotes flower bud initiation which was associated with higher cambial activity of higher girth of panicle (Luo et al., 2005). This reflect that an adequate active xylem and pith cell capable to carry out food materials to the developing fruits is present, which results in retention of more number of fruits. The significance of fruit trees reserves in influencing fruit set has also been reported in olive (Bustan et al., 2011).

    3.6.  Effect of panicle girth on fruit weight and TSS

    A strong positive correlation between girth of panicle and fruit weight was noted in two cultivars viz., Rose Scented (0.518) and Seedless Late (0.608) while weak positive relation (0.358) was observed in Mandaraji. A very strong correlation between girth of panicle and fruit weight in Seedless Late (0.608) can be attributed to increased girth of panicle which had provided more nutrients and water to the developing fruits and resulted in higher fruit weight. However, no correlation between number of fruit set and TSS of fruit in litchi was observed.


  • Conclusion

    Panicle length exerted a positive correlation with width and girth of panicle in carrying maximum number of fruits. However, in Rose Scented, length of panicle played a great role in determining fruit set. Similarly, in Mandaraji, girth of panicle played a determining role in influencing fruit set, while in Seedless Late, both length and girth of panicle were crucial for fruit set. For genetic improvement in litchi, emphasis on length and girth of panicle should be given due attention.


  • Acknowledgement

    Authors are thankful to ICAR-NRC on Litchi for providing all the facilities to complete the study.


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Cite

1.
Lal N, Kumar A, Nath V. Quantitative Analysis of Relationships Between Panicle Size and Fruit Traits in Litchi (Litchi chinensis Sonn.) IJBSM [Internet]. 29Aug.2020[cited 8Feb.2022];11(1):381-386. Available from: http://www.pphouse.org/ijbsm-article-details.php?article=1397

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