University of Hawaii

Tiller variation to seasonal effects in tillering maize inbreds (Zea mays L.)

— Ji, HC

Maize tiller is one of the plant characteristics that has been undesirable for breeding purposes. Most corns generally have no tillering. In Hawaii, the number of maize tillers for tropical field and sweet corns was less than one or two. Moreover, their tillers did not contribute to yield increase. In order to know the effects of season on tillering formation, six inbreds which have been developed for tillering F1 hybrids were grown at the Waimanalo Research Station in spring, summer, fall, and winter seasons of 2003.

The number of tillers per plant was observed about 3 weeks after planting. We couldn’t get data in the fall and winter seasons due to an infection of maize mosaic virus (MMV); in addition, some plants were very stunted by short days at the Waimanalo Research Station. Average plant height for six inbreds ranged from 105.8cm ± 2.95 (FR805/IK3) to 172.4cm ± 4.34 (IK2) and average ear height ranged from 49.4cm ± 2.97 (PI213749) to 98.2cm ± 4.49 (IK2), and average leaf number ranged from 8 ± 0.82 (IK1) to 11 ± 0.45 (IK2) in the spring trial.

The Waesungri inbred had the highest average tiller number in both spring (4.6 ± 1.51) and summer (2.50 ± 1.14) trials among the tillering inbreds. Other inbreds had less than one tiller, except for the Singihong inbred and IK1 inbred in spring trials (Table 1). Waimanalo Research Station had generally lower incident light in the fall and winter seasons than in the summer season, due to clouds and heavy rain.

The effects of season on maize tiller formation were indirectly estimated when maize inbreds, which had more than two tillers without failure in Korea (where temperature is below 25°C during germination-seedling growth) were planted in Hawaii, where daily average temperature is over 25°C, and thus did not show the usual number of tillers in all seasons. We can summarize that the spring trial had better tillering traits than other seasons, and the Waesungri inbred showed better tillering characteristics than the inbreds IK1, IK2, and Singihong.


Table 1. Tiller variation to seasonal effects in Hawaii.

Inbreds No. of tillers

Spring Summer
FR805/IK3 0.83 ± 1.16* 0.44 ± 0.84
Waesungri 4.60 ± 1.51 2.50 ± 1.14
IK1 1.23 ± 0.57 0.50 ± 0.51
IK2 0.90 ± 0.59 0.47 ± 0.77
PI213749 0.52 ± 0.22 0.13 ± 0.51
Singihong 1.48 ± 0.76 0.60 ± 1.08

* Mean ± SD

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