This study was performed to associate specific morphological parameters, defined by X-ray images, with seed performance of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus (L.) Moench) during maturation. Fruits of cultivar Santa Cruz 47 at different developmental stages were collected at five-day intervals (from 5 to 65 days after anthesis) and water content, dry matter, germination and vigor were determined in seeds extracted immediately after each harvest or after temporary storage for seven days. X-ray tests were also performed after each harvest and the images were analyzed by ImageJ® software to produce data of aspect ratio (relation between major and minor axes of the ellipse surrounding the seed perimeter) and percentage of free space area in the inner seed cavity. Physiological maturity (maximum accumulation of dry matter) was reached at 30 days after anthesis (DAA), when seed water content was 56.6 %. Seed germination and vigor increased during maturation, achieving the maximum at 50 DAA. Seeds showed morphological changes during maturation, becoming more spherical (aspect ratio near 1.0); at the same time, the free space available in the inner cavity of the seed decreased. This parameter can be successfully used as a marker of physiological maturity when values equal or lower than 5 % are reached.
physiological potential RGB; aspect ratio; free space; seed maturity