Global warming has caused frequent occurrence of heat stress at the flowering stage of single-season rice in the Yangtze River region of China, which results in declines of spikelet fertility and yield in rice. Rice flowering stage is the most sensitive period to high temperatures, and therefore, the key for heat stress happening is the flowering stage coinciding with high temperature, which causes spikelet fertility decreasing in heat-sensitive varieties, and is the major factor for heat injury differences among various rice planting regions. With the development of rice breeding, temperature indexes for heat stress has been converted from daily maximum temperature of 35 °C to 38 °C with the stress duration of more than 3 d. During the flowering stage, anther dehiscence inhibition and low pollen shedding onto the stigma are two main reasons for spikelet fertility reduction under high temperatures. At panicle initiation stage, high temperatures aggravate spikelet degeneration, and destroy floral organ development. Various types of rice varieties coexist in production, and indica-japonica hybrid rice demonstrates the highest heat resistance in general, followed by indica and japonica rice varieties. In production, avoiding high temperature is the main strategy of preventing heat stress, and planting suitable cultivars and adjustment of sowing date are the most effective measures. Irrigation is an effective real-time cultivation measure to decline the canopy temperature during the rice flowering stage. We suggested that further study should be focused on exploring heat injury differences among different rice variety types, and innovating rice-planting methods according to planting system changes in rice planting regions with extreme heat stress. Meanwhile, high temperature monitor and warning systems should be improved to achieve optimal heat stress management efficiencies. Keywords: flowering stage, heat stress, spikelet fertility, high temperature, yield, variet
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