This work aimed at determining the optimum harvest time of African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum L.) seeds, cv. Oforiwa and cv. Kpando for maximum physiological seed quality under tropical (TCC) and temperate oceanic climatic (TOC) conditions. Fruit morphological metrics such as fruit weight and size were also related to seed physiological quality. Seeds were harvested at different maturation stages from 20 to 82 days after anthesis (DAA). Seed quality was assessed according to moisture content, dry seed weight, seed length, thousand seed weight, percentage germination and emergence. The results indicated that seeds harvested precociously (20 and 34 days after anthesis), did not germinate or recorded very low percentage germination (0-20%). Considering all the fruit morphological traits and seed quality variables measured, the results indicate that maximum seed quality (that is, germination, emergence, seed weight and mean germination time) are obtained from fruits harvested at 76 DAA. The physiological maturity (PM) (maximum seed dry weight) for cv. Oforiwa was attained at 62 DAA while cv. Kpando took 14 days more to reach physiological maturity but coincided with maximum germination at 76 DAA. The results further showed that fruit characteristics such as weight and size are associated with seed physiological quality in African eggplant. It is thus recommended that fruits of African eggplant cv. Oforiwa and cv. Kpando should be harvested at 70 to 76 DAA for maximum seed germination and emergence.
Key words: African eggplant, Solanum aethiopicum, physiological maturity, germination, seed maturation.
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