The influence of plant water stress on net photosynthesis and yield of sunflower helianthus annuus l
Human J.J.; Du Toit D.; Bezuidenhout H.D.; De Bruyn L.P.
Journal of Agronomy and Crop Science 164(4): 231-241
The effect of plant water stress on net photosynthesis, leaf growth, yield and yield-related components were investigated in a single experiment in order to determine in which way water deficits affect sunflower yields. Sunflower plants, grown under controlled temperature regimes, were stressed during budding, anthesis and seed filling by withholding water until the leaf water potential reached -1600 and 02000 kPa. Leaf area of unstressed plants significantly exceeded that of plants under severe stress during all growth stages investigated. The CO2 uptake rate per unit leaf area as well as the total uptake rate per plant, significantly diminished with stress, while this effect drastically increased during the reproductive phase of the plant. Although this resulted in significantly smaller heads and kernels, it did not affect the number of seeds borne in the inflorescence. Severe stress during anthesis and seed filling resulted in more empty kernels. Moderate and severe stress during budding significantly lowered both grain and oil yields while plants that experienced moderate stress during anthesis and seed filling significantly outyielded those under severe stress.