Soil water deficits may affect the location and pattern of flower and pod production on different stem axes of a bean plant. The objective of this study was to understand the effect of drought stress on the distribution of flowers and pods on the main stem and on branches of bean plants. The experiment was conducted in a shelter field facility. Water stress was imposed from the end of the vegetative stage to physiological maturity and soil water was measured with a neutron probe every two weeks. Formation of flowers at each node of the main stem was monitored at 44 days after planting (DAP) and formation of pods at 55DAP and 65 DAP. Dry weight of stems and leaves as well leaf area were measured during the middle of the pod filling stage (55DAP). The total number of flowers reached maxima of 32 and 44 flowers per plant for the drought and irrigated treatments, respectively. Number of flowers on branches decreased 50% in the stress treatment when compared to the control. Pod setting was also reduced on the branches of the lower nodes of the main stems. Under drought, the leaf area diminished by 60.1% and 10.4% on branches and main stem, respectively. The field drought conditions of this experiment had a greater effect on the vegetative and reproductive growth of branches as compared to the main stem affecting the final yield.
dry beans; soil water; flowers; pod setting; branches