Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 10:11 (article 11) 1987
Longevity of Cucumber Seed
R. W. Robinson
Department of Horticultural Sciences, New York State Agricultural Experiment
Station, Geneva, NY 14456
PI 197087, a cucumber introduction from India, is notable for its multiple
disease resistance. It has been reported (1,2,4) to be resistant to seven
diseases and red spider mites. It is a parent of the disease resistant varieties
Pixie and Polaris.
Despite the importance of this introduction, seed was unavailable from
U.S.D.A. Plant Introductions when H. M. Munger requested it for powdery
mildew tests. Fortunately, however, I was able to provide Dr. Munger with
remnant seed from a sample of PI 197087 received in 1971. The seed had been
produced at Geneva, NY by Plant Introductions in 1955. Since 1971, the seed
had been stored at 40°F and 17% relative humidity. The 31 year-old seed
had over 90% germination and produced vigorous seedlings in 1986. Plant
Introductions increased their stocks of PI 197087 recently, and perpetuation
of this important introduction seems assured.
Several genetic stocks of cucumber also germinated in 1986, although
the seed was produced in 1961. Germination of some of the 25 year-old cucumber
seed was very slow, but after germination the plants developed normally
and segregation ratios in F2 populations were not altered by
aging of the seed.
Bass (2) reported little decline in germination of seed of most varieties
of cucumber, muskmelon, and watermelon after nine years storage at 10°
C and 50% RH. It is now evident that cucumber seed can retain its viability
for more than a quarter of a century if kept cool and dry.
- Barnes, W. C. and W. M. Epps. 1952. Two types of anthracnose resistance
in cucumbers. Plant Dis. Reptr. 36:479-480.
- Bass, L. N. 1980. Seed viability during long-term storage. Hort.
- Clark, R. L., J. L. Jarvis, S. W. Braverman, S. M. Dietz, G. Sowell,
Jr., and H. F. Winters. 1972. A summary of reports on the resistance of
plant introductions to diseases, nematodes, and mites. USDA Plant Introductions
Mimeographed Report, 23 pp.
- Kooistra, E. 1968. Powdery mildew resistance in cucumber. Euphytica 17:236-244.