Michigan State University
In order to test the domestication potential of Cuphea species in the Mediterranean area some germplasm resources of Cuphea lutea and Cuphea laminuligera were tested for their phenological and morpho-physiological characteristics. In order to determine the proper harvesting time for maximum yield of seeds and oil, seeds in different stages of maturity were collected, separated into colour categories and analysed for oil content and fatty acid composition. Results confirm that the germplasm resources of Cuphea lutea and Cuphea laminuligera seem to be well adapted to the local climatic conditions of our experimental station and appear to be suitable for the cultivation in the Mediterranean area. According to the grading suggested by Hirsinger (1985), the germplasm collections of Cuphea lutea appear to be "excellent" for some phenological traits such as days till flower and days till seed yield; furthermore we can define them "good" and "fair" for some agronomic aspects such as 1000-seed weight and seed yield, respectively. In both species seed oil percentage increases when green-yellowish seed turns to reddish. No significant increase in oil content was observed when waiting beyond this time. Seed oil composition generally follows patterns reported previously. The amount of lauric acid is similar during the three stages of maturity. Based on the information obtained from these studies, seeds of C. lutea and C. laminuligera seem to be mature and ready for harvest when the seed coat turns from green-yellowish to reddish leading to a decrease of shattering and loss of seed. © 1994.