Date of this Version
Published in Crop Sci. 41:107-110 (2001).
Although there is growing demand for sorghum [Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench] with white seed and tan plant color, there is limited information on the overall agronomic fitness of sorghum with these characters. A set of experiments was conducted to evaluate the combined effects of plant color and seed color on sorghum germination, emergence, and agronomic performance. Twenty near-isogenic lines with red seed/tan plant (RT), red seed/purple plant (RP), white seed/ tan plant (WT), white seed/purple plant (WP) phenotypes were tested under field and laboratory conditions. Plant color X seed color interactions were not significant. Purple plant color phenotypes had higher cold germination, higher germination after accelerated aging, and greater seedling elongation at 10 d than tan plant color phenotypes. Plant color did not influence standard warm germination. No differences in standard warm germination or seed vigor test results were attributable to seed color. Seedling emergence under field conditions was higher for the red seed than the white seed phenotype. Grain yield was higher for the white seed than the red seed phenotype, and higher for the purple plant color than the tan plant color phenotype. Grain test weights from purple plant color lines were higher than those from tan plant color lines. All four phenotypes included relatively high yielding lines. There was considerable overlap between WT, WP, RT, RP lines in yield and other indicators of agronomic performance leading to the conclusion that white seed and tan plant color lines with comparable performance to red seed and purple plant color lines can be selected from segregating breeding populations.