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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.

Literature Cited

  1. Barnes, W. C. and W. M. Epps. 1952. Two types of anthracnose resistance in cucumbers. Plant Dis. Reptr. 36:479-480.
  2. Bass, L. N. 1980. Seed viability during long-term storage. Hort. Rev. 2:117-141.
  3. 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.
  4. Kooistra, E. 1968. Powdery mildew resistance in cucumber. Euphytica 17:236-244.
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