Experiments to determine the effect of seed size, watering interval and defoliation on growth and dry matter attributes of seedlings of shea butter tree were conducted at Makurdi, Nigeria, from July 2010 to April, 2012. In the first experiment, treatments were made up of three seed size categories described as small (5-10g), medium (11-15g) and large (16-20g) and three watering intervals of 3, 6 and 9 days. In the second experiment, treatments comprised three watering intervals of 3, 6 and 9 days and three levels of defoliation – 0, 50 and 100%. In both experiments, factorial combinations of the treatments were laid out in completely randomized design (CRD) and replicated three times. Results of analysis of variance showed that in the first experiment seed size significantly influenced root length with the medium and large seeds producing seedlings with comparatively longer roots than the small seeds. The most frequently watered seedlings (3 and 6 days) produced more leaves than those watered less frequently (9 days). Seed size influenced dry weight of root and total (whole plant) dry weight with the medium and large seeds recording significantly higher values than the small seeds. Watering interval however did not significantly influence any of the other traits. Seed weight exerted significant influence on amount of dry matter partitioned to the stem and the root. More dry matter was partitioned to the stem by the small seeds. Conversely, medium and large seeds allocated more dry matter to the root than to the stem. In the second experiment, defoliation level only influenced total fresh weight, dry weight of root and total dry weight in favour of plants with half their leaves removed. None of the traits examined were significantly influenced by watering regime. Interaction between defoliation level and watering regime significantly influenced total fresh weight, dry weight of root and total dry weight. Generally seed size had more influence on seedling characters than watering interval. Seedlings also demonstrated remarkable ability to overcome effects of defoliation.
International Letters of Natural Sciences (Volume 37)
F.D. Ugese et al., "Shea (Vitellaria paradoxa C. F. Gaertn.) Seedlings Showed Impressive Recovery after Defoliation", International Letters of Natural Sciences, Vol. 37, pp. 61-70, 2015