Agriculture Pakistan 19(3): 415-416 (1968)

6. Effect of pollens of different phoenix species on the quality and maturity of Date palm

Date industry has not been able to attain any commercial status at Lyallpur, Montgomery and Sargodha Districts, simply for the reason that its ripening time during July, August synchronizes with monsoon rains which are responsible for causing rot and fermentation of the fruit on the palm due to high humidity and high temperature during that period. Many varieties have been tried so as to get one which may ripen earlier to these rains but no success has been achieved in this direction. The results of experiments conducted in foreign countries on the effect of different pollens on the date fruit have shown that the time of ripening of this fruit can be altered by the use of some selective pollens. They have been able to mature fruit 20 days earlier by affecting pollination with pollen collected from various species.

Investigations were conducted to study the effect of different date pollens on the fruit of date palm in 1958-59 at the experimental garden Lyallpur. Male plants selected as pollen parents were of 45 years age. Two seedling palms each of P. dectylifera and P. syleyestris, one each of P. canariensis and P. Humilis were used. Hillawi and Khudrawi were female plants under study. Different pollens have not been found to influence the rate of growth of this fruit. Rate of development of fruit weight of seed and percentage of edible portion are not materially influenced by pollen type. Periodical development of total sugar, reducing sugar, sucrose and moisture contents were definitely influenced by Pollen type. (Munir Ahmed and Ch. Niaz Ali 1959).

7. Similar field studies were carried out at Government Experimental Garden, Lyallpur during the years 1960 and 1961. The pollens of four male species as said earlier were used only on one female variety, Hilliawi for this purpose. The conclusions drawn from the data regarding sugars affected by different pollens were that there was a definite effect on the fruit. The fruit produced with P. Humilis had developed sugars more rapidly as compared to fruit from other pollens during the same period of development. The fruit from P. humilis attained 37.78% total sugar by July 15 while in fruit of other pollens this much quantity of total sugar was not even attained by August 1. The significant difference was noted in the amount of non-reducing sugars. In the mature fruit of P. humilis these sugars were 13.56% while in fruits of other pollens these sugars were 5-6%. This high rate of non-reducing sugars is the contributing factor in hastening maturity of date fruit.

The rates of development in fruit weight, seed and percentage of edible portion have not been materially influenced by different pollens except from P. humilis. The size of the fruit and seed of P. humilis was the smallest as compared to others.