Photoperiodic effect on flowering and seed development in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd)
Sensitivity to photoperiod in quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) was studied under controlled conditions to enhance crop adaptation to environments outside its centre of origin. Two varieties, a traditional variety from Bolivia (Real), which will not mature under Danish conditions, and an early maturing variety (Q52), developed for Danish climatic conditions, were used in this reciprocal transfer experiment. Plants were moved from a short daylength of 10 h (SD) to a long daylength of 18 h (LD) and vice versa at set intervals from sowing to 100 days after sowing (DAS). A reaction of LD in time to flowering was observed only in the Bolivian variety Real. Under SD both varieties flowered after 39 DAS. For Real the LD regime resulted in a moderate increase in time to flowering to 44 DAS. The non sensitive, juvenile period in Real was estimated to be approximately 16 days. In Q52 a moderate increase in the number of leaves was formed on the main stem after flowering at LD, which indicates that some daylength sensitivity remains. The most striking difference occurred during seed filling, when going from SD to LD. In Q52 the time from the end of flowering to maturity increased from 39 to 52 days. Under SD, Real had a seed-filling period similar to Q52, but at LD Real remained with green leaves during seed filling. Hard seed was observed in the still green perigonium 57 days after end of flowering. At this moment re-shooting occurred from the inflorescence, and seed maturity was not reached at the termination of the experiment at 150 DAS. This study shows that flower induction is not a major problem for adaptation of quinoa to North European conditions but that a very strong, daylength sensitive, stay green reaction is the main cause of the late maturity of South American introductions.