The growth habit of lentil (Lens culinaris Medikus) is a key trait in the selection of cultivars for a mechanized harvest. We aimed to determine the position of pods on plants, and to assess the variation in plant architecture across seasons and genotypes. Morphological analyses were made on 25 diverse lentil genotypes sown at commercial planting density in the 1985-1986 and 1986-1987 seasons in North Syria. Biological and grain yield varied over the two seasons from 2.8 to 3.7 and 0.80 to 1.34 Mg ha-1, respectively. The low yields in the 1986-1987 season were primarily due to insufficient rainfall during reproductive growth. Over the seasons the vegetative structure of the crop was similar in stature, but the branch angle of primary branches was more acute in the dry 1986-1987 season. The relative distribution of pods among the mainstem, the primary branch system, and the secondary plus tertiary branches was 17.5, 52.4, and 30.2%, respectively. The mainstem and the lowermost two primary branches accounted for 49.5% of the seed yields. Despite large fluctuations in total pod numbers, the distribution of pods on the plant was relatively unaffected by season or genotype. The lowermost two primary branches held the six most commonly podded nodes, and podding was concentrated into fewer nodes on the primaries than on the mainstem. The study showed striking, but continuous, heritable genetic variation in growth habit, allowing the selection of types suited to mechanized harvest.
|Publication status||Published - 1991|