[en] Lagenaria siceraria ; fruit age ; pre-storage ; seed fermentation ; maturity ; viability ; seedling vigor
[en] Objectives : the study was conducted to determine the optimum age of the fruit at harvest and to evaluate the effect of pre-storage and fermentation on the seeds'agronomic performance of oleaginous Lagenaria siceraria. Methodology and results : Fruit of the "round-fruited" and "blocky-fruited", two cultivars of the species, were harvested at 3 different ages (30, 40 and 50 days after anthesis (DAA)). These fruits were pre-stored during 0,30 and 60 days after harvest (DAH), and then their seeds were fermented for 0,5 and 10 days. Seed viability (germination percentage and germination speed index) and seedlings vigor (emergence percentage, emergence speed index, seedling shoot length and seedling dry weight) were significantly (P< 0.001) influenced by each of the three factors. Following the positive interaction of these factors, the best viability and the most vigorous seedlings were obtained with seeds from fruits tardily harvested (50 DAA), pre-stored for a long time (60 DAH) and longer fermented (10 days). The simultaneous variation of the fruit wet weight and the seed color, dry weight and moisture content with their viability and the seedlings vigor indicates that these four parameters can be used as indicators of both cultivars maturity. Conclusions and application of findings : The results suggest that in deaginous L siceraria, fruits must be harvested 50 DAA, pre-stored up to 60 DPA. Good agronomic quality seeds must have yellow-orange color and be fermented up to 10 days.