This refers to the article, “When to flower” (Down To Earth, December 15, 2005). The study by a team of UK-based scientists on the effect of sunlight on flowering pattern of the barley plant is nothing new, except they have isolated the Ppd-H 1 gene, which is found to control the flowering. The Sugarcane Breeding and Research Station at Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu also used light and darkness to control the flowering of sugarcane in the 1950s. The only two stations where the climate was congenial for propagating the new variety thro’ seeds were Karnal and Coimbatore. Sugarcane flowers which wither and fall off within a few days of flowering were found to hold on to their stalks in these places. Late flowering varieties were given artificial lighting at night, while early flowering varieties were kept in darkness during the day with tar coated thatches around them. Thus the flowering of different varieties was controlled so they flowered within a week to 10 days of each other. I am sure these research centres at these places have continued the good work
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