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Storage Behaviour  1000 Seed Weight  Literature Cited

APG Order: Ericales
Kew Family: THEACEAE
Genus: Camellia
Species Epithet: sinensis
Species Author: (L.) Kuntze
Common Name: tea

Storage Behaviour

Storage Behaviour: Intermediate?
Storage Conditions: MCS= 28% (Hu et al., 1993, 1994) to 53% (Boyce, 1989) Moist storage has been recommended; for example, no loss in viability of seeds stored moist (100% r.h. ) in polyethylene bags at 5-7C was reported after 9 months (Sebastiampillai & Anandappa, 1979), 2 years (Katsuo et al., 1970), or even after 6 years at 1C (Amma & Watanabe, 1983).Desiccation sensitivity has been reported. For example, seeds harvested at 52.8% mc tolerated desiccation to 27.5% mc when dried rapidly, but further desiccation to low moisture contents reduced viability considerably (Boyce, 1989; Grabe, 1989). LSMC= 30%, 46% seeds germinated on desiccation to 23% mc (Barman, 1990). LSMC= 23% for seeds harvested at 40% mc (Chaudhury et al., 1990), and none survived further desiccation to 18% mc (Chandel et al., 1993). Chandel et al. (1993) found that embryonic axes excised from seeds harvested at 42% mc were at 51.3% mc, and while the whole seeds were killed on desiccation to 18% mc, about 70% of excised embryonic axes survived desiccation to about 12% mc. Excised embryonic axes were successfully cryopreserved after drying to 13% mc (Chaudhury et al., 1991; Chandel et al., 1995). In contrast, Wesley-Smith et al. (1992) reported that 100% of embryonic axes survived liquid nitrogen after they had been rapidly dried to 62-52% mc, but only 50-60% survival was observed in liquid nitrogen when they were rapidly dried to 41-28% mc. Berjak et al. (1993) found that embryonic axes excised from fruits harvested on trees before natural dehiscence had 66-70% mc and tolerated desiccation to 28.6% mc when dried rapidly (flash drying), but only tolerated desiccation to 47.4% mc when dried slowly. Desiccation tolerance was reported to increase if seeds are harvested when more mature. For example, seeds harvested at 41-46%mc tolerated desiccation to 23% mc, 61% seeds germinated on desiccation to 17.3% mc, but none remained viable when the mean moisture content was reduced to 11.5% mc (Sebastiampillai & Anandappa, 1979). There are some reports of considerable desiccation tolerance. Visser & Tillekeratne (1958) reported that 50-70% seeds germinated following 20 weeks storage at 0C with 10% r.h. (mc not reported), while 100% and 20% germinated following 15 and 42 weeks of storage at 0C with 55% r.h. (mc not reported), respectively. Similarly, Hu et al. (1993, 1994) reported that 50% of the whole mature seeds harvested at 26-28% mc survived desiccation to 9.2% mc, and that 20% survived following 55 days subsequent cryopreservation in liquid nitrogen. A loss in viability of about 28% occurred after 1 year's hermetic storage at -25C with 9.2% mc, but there was no loss in viability following 118 days cryopreservation with seeds at 13.8% mc (Hu et al., 1993, 1994). Similarly, 20% whole seed survival (mc not reported) after 55 days cryostorage in liquid nitrogen was also reported (Guo & Shi, 1990). COMMENT: Camellia sinensis has been classified as recalcitrant (e.g., King & Roberts, 1979; Chandel et al., 1993; Berjak et al., 1993) because of repeated reports of short life-spans in open storage at room temperature (Anonymous, 1955; Bonheure, 1962; Andrews, 1967; Rashid et al., 1973; Amma, 1978; Amma & Watanabe, 1983), and desiccation sensitivity (Anonymous, 1955; Amma, 1978; Sebastiampillay & Anandappa, 1979; Berjak et al., 1993; Chandel et al., 1993). We have questioned the assumption that the species shows recalcitrant seed storage behaviour (Ellis et al., 1985c), and indeed it is now clear that seeds of C. sinensis are not recalcitrant, since 41% of the seeds survive desiccation to 8.7% mc (Hu et al., 1993, 1994). The results provided by Visser and Tillekeratne (1958), in which viability may have been maintained better at 55% r.h. than at 10% r.h., suggest that they may show intermediate seed storage behaviour. Misinterpretation and misclassification of seed storage behaviour as recalcitrant may result from investigations with immature seeds (seed moisture contents >50% at harvest), and secondary dormancy may be induced by drying to low moisture contents. The requirement of specific dormancy-breaking treatments (Dirr & Heuser, 1987; Hu et al., 1993, 1994) and the delayed imbibition of water by dry seeds reported by Sebastiampillai & Anandappa (1979) support the view that drying to low moisture contents may induce hardseededness or secondary dormancy in Camellia seeds. Further investigations with mature seeds (when MCS <40%) are therefore needed to clarify seed storage behaviour.
Species Distribution: The probable centre of origin of tea is near the source of the Irrawaddy River and from there it spread to S.E. China, Indo- China and Assam.

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1000 Seed Weight

Average 1000 Seed Weight(g): 1405.2
Details of Component Seed Weights:
  1. 1970.0; (Cromarty et al., 1982); Seed; Seed mc not stated, but weight is likely to refer to air-dry seed.
  2. 549.45; (FAO, 1975); Seed; Seed mc not stated, but weight is likely to refer to air-dry seed.
  3. 2041.0; (Felfoldi, 1980); Seed; Seed mc not stated, but weight is likely to refer to air-dry seed.
  4. 1500.0; (von Carlowitz, 1991); Seed; Mid-point of 1000 seed weight range 500-2500g; seed mc not stated, but weight is likely to refer to air-dry seed.
  5. 965.52; (RBG Kew, Wakehurst Place); Seed; *Seed weights reported may include minor covering structures
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Literature Cited
  1. Amma, S. 1978. Rapid germinability test with sugars exuded from tea seed. Study of Tea, 55:1-6.
  2. Amma, S. and Watanabe, A. 1983. Long-term storage of germplasm in tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O.Kuntze). Bulletin of National Research Institute of Tea, 19:29-57.
  3. Andrews, D.N. 1966. The cold storage of tea seeds. Revue Agricolte et SucriFre de l'Ile Maurice, 45:303-304.
  4. Anon. 1955. Effect of desiccation and seed dressings on germination of tea seeds and the resulting plants. Annual Report of the Indian Tea Association Scientific Department, Tocklai 1954/1955:116-120.
  5. Barman, T.S. 1990. Postharvest storage of tea seeds. In Proceedings of the International Congress of Plant Physiology, New Delhi, India, 15-20 February 1988. Volume 2. New Delhi, India: Society for Plant Physiology and Biochemistry, pp. 1392-1395.
  6. Berjak, P., Vertucci, C.W. and Pammenter, N.W. 1993. Effects of developmental status and dehydration rate on characteristics of water and desiccation-sensitivity in recalcitrant seeds of Camellia sinensis. Seed Science Research, 3:155-166.
  7. Boyce, K.G. 1989. Report of the seed storage committee 1986-1989. Seed Science and Technology 17 Supplement:135-142.
  8. Chandel, K.P.S., Chaudhury, R. and Radhamani, J. 1993. Biological mechanisms determining the recalcitrance in seeds of tea, cocoa and jackfruit. IBPGR- 93/23.
  9. Chandel, K.P.S., Chaudhury, R., Radhamani, J. and Malik, S.K. 1995. Desiccation and freezing sensitivity in recalcitrant seeds of tea, cocoa and jacfruit. Annals of Botany, 76:443-450.
  10. Chaudhury, R., Lakhanpaul, S. and Chandel, K.P.S. 1990. Germination and desiccation tolerance of tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O.Kuntze) seeds and feasibility of cryopreservation. Sri Lanka Journal of Tea Science, 59:89-94.
  11. Chaudhury, R., Radhamani, J. and Chandel, K.P.S. 1991. Preliminary observations on the cryopreservation of desiccated embryonic axes of tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O.Kuntze) seeds for genetic conservation. Cryo-Letters, 12:31-36.
  12. Cromarty, A.S., Ellis, R.H. and Roberts, E.H. 1982. The Design of Seed Storage Facilities for Genetic Conservation. Rome: International Board for Plant Genetic Resources.
  13. Dirr, M.A. and Heuser, C.W. 1987. The Reference Manual of Woody Plant Propagation. Varsity Press, Athens.
  14. Ellis, R. H., Hong, T.D. and Roberts, E.H. 1985c. Preliminary seed germination and seed storage investigations with the winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus (L.) D.C.). The Winged Bean Flyer 5, 22-36.
  15. FAO. 1975. Forest Tree Seed Directory. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
  16. Grabe, D.F. 1989. Report of the seed moisture 1986-1989 working group on recalcitrant seeds. Seed Science and Technology, 17S:87-93.
  17. Guo, C.G. and Shi, S.X. 1990. Conservation of tea and camphor seeds at very low temperatures. Crop Genetic Resources, 2:16.
  18. Hu, J., Guo, C.G. and Shi, S.X. 1993. Partial drying and post-thaw preconditioning improve the survival and germination of cryopreserved seeds of tea (Camellia sinensis). FAO/IBPGR Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 93, 1-4.
  19. Hu, J., Guo, C.G. and Shi, S.X. 1994. Partial drying and post-thaw preconditioning improve the survival and germination of cryopreserved seeds of tea (Camellia sinensis). FAO/IBPGR Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter 94, 25-28.
  20. Katsuo, K., Toyao, T. and Kayumi, S. 1970. The germination of tea seed. Part I. Relation of the picking period and conditions for storage to the seed germination. Study of Tea, 39:14-19.
  21. King, M.W. and Roberts, E.H. 1979. The Storage of Recalcitrant Seeds: Achievements and Possible Approaches. International Board for Plant Genetic Resources, Rome.
  22. Rashid, A., Alam, B. and Chakraborty, H. 1973. Storage of tea seeds. Tea Journal of Bangladesh, 9:12-15.
  23. Sebastiampillai, A.R. and Anandappa, T.I. 1979. The influence of moisture and temperature of the germinability and longevity of tea (Camellia sinensis L.) seeds. Tea Quarterly, 48:8-20.
  24. Visser, T. and Tillekeratne, L.M. de Waas 1958. Observations on the germination and storage of tea pollen and seed. Tea Quarterly, 29:30-35.
  25. Wesley-Smith, J., Vertucci, C.W., Berjak, P., Pammenter, N.W. and Crane, J. 1992. Cryopreservation of desiccation sensitive axes of Camellia sinensis in relation to dehydration, freezing rate and the thermal properties of tissue water. Journal of Plant Physiology, 140:596-604.
  26. Felfoldi, E. 1980. Seed Counts (Numbers of Seeds Per Unit Weight). Technical Report Series, 32. Government of Victoria, Department of Agriculture.
  27. von Carlowitz, P.G. 1991. Multipurpose trees and shrubs: sources of seeds and inoculants. ICRAF, Nairobi. USDA 25.
  28. RBG Kew, Wakehurst Place.

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