The potted experiment was conducted in the early planting season of 2018, at the Teaching and Research Farm of Imo State University, Owerri, Nigeria to ascertain the effects of seed priming using water, coconut water and moringa leaf extract on the seedling emergence and growth of bitter kola. Completely Randomized Design was used with four treatments and three replicates. The treatments were thus; soaking of bitter kola seeds in water for 36 h, soaking of bitter kola seeds in coconut water mixed with ordinary water for 36 h, soaking of bitter kola seeds in moringa leaf extract for 36 h and non-soaked seeds (control). Bitter kola seeds were purchased from a farmer that has a bitter kola tree in his compound at Owerri, Imo State. Data were collected on number of seedlings emergence, percentage emergence, plant height, number of leaves per plant, root dry weight, shoot dry weight, leaf dry weight and total dry weight. The result revealed that priming treatments had significant effect (P≤0.05) on number of seedlings that emerged when compared with the non-primed seeds. The least seedling emergence (0) was recorded from non-soaked seeds. Seeds soaked in water for 36 h gave the highest seedlings emergence of 10.67. Priming had effect on plant height and number of leaves. Priming also significantly affected total dry weight, shoot dry weight, leaf dry weight and root dry weight compared to the control which had no seedling that emerged. The values obtained from primed seeds were statistically similar (P≤0.05), although water treatment gave the best result. Therefore, priming of bitter kola before planting is very necessary to enhance seedling emergence and growth.
Key words: Bitter kola, priming, seedling emergence and growth, nigeria, west Africa
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