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Variability in the duration of flowering in the faba bean

F.L. Stoddard

Agronomy Department, Waite Agricultural Research Institute, Glen Osmond, SA

Fiord is the only commercial cultivar of faba bean currently recommended in Australia. The plants of this cultivar and most others often stop flowering when conditions are still conducive to further growth. It is classically assumed that this arrest is due to competition for assimilates from the developing pods. Other factors limiting flowering could include availability of water and morphological constraints.


Cultivar Fiord was sown on 24 April, 14 May, 4 June and 25 June 1986. Twelve accessions (including Fiord) from several countries were sown on 2 June. Both trials were replicated 4 times and plots were 2.1 x 5 m. Every week, flowers and young pods were removed from 25 plants ('stripped') in each plot. Twice a week, the number of flowers and the date of anthesis of the first flower were determined on each raceme of a further 25 plants. At harvest the number of pods on each raceme was recorded.

Results and discussion

Control plants of Fiord produced fewer nodes at later times of sowing. The stripped plants continued to flower until a terminal flower was produced, except in certain late stems and in Maris Bead which were still flowering when an early drought in November stopped flowering and vegetative growth. Fiord sown on 24 April produced significantly more nodes up to the terminal flower than it did from later sowings.

Variation in the date of anthesis of the flower forming the last pod shows that conditions remained suitable for podding up to 6 weeks after the end of podding in early sown Fiord. There is potential for developing a cultivar which takes greater advantage of the growing season than does Fiord.

Table. End of reproduction in 12 accessions of faba bean, 1 sown at 4 times.

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