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Open access

Phil Sheridan, Winnie W. Ho, Yann Rodenas, and Donald G. Ruch

Anthocyanin pigmentation is a significant horticultural feature in plants and can be a crucial mediator of plant–insect interactions. In carnivorous plants, the modified leaves that capture prey can be visually striking and are traditionally considered prey attractants. Nevertheless, the question of whether bold color and venation patterns function as lures for insect prey remains ambiguous, and appears to vary across taxa. Furthermore, vegetative pigments can have alternate functions as protectants against thermal and oxidative damage. Our dual-year study compares the wild-type pitcher phenotype with a true-breeding anthocyanin-free mutant of the white-topped pitcher plant (Sarracenia leucophylla Raf.). We bred full-sibling crosses of S. leucophylla carrying either the wild-type anthocyanin gene or the anthocyanin-free variant. In both experimental years, growth points were established in outdoor plots and pitchers were allowed to capture prey before harvest at the end of each growing season. Dry weight of prey biomass was measured from pitchers of both pigment morphs, along with nectary counts, pitcher size, and internal temperature. The presence of anthocyanins in trapping leaves did not affect the biomass of insects captured. Nor did wild-type or anthocyanin-free pitcher morphs differ in size, temperature, or nectary counts. Instead, pitcher height, and, nominally, mouth diameter were better predictors of prey biomass. Despite striking visual differences in pitcher color, wild-type and anthocyanin-free plants did not catch significantly different quantities of prey. Our study provides empirical data that anthocyanin pigmentation in S. leucophylla does not affect the capture of prey biomass, and supports a growing body of literature showing that pigmentation traits serve in multiple contexts.

Open access

Bishnu P. Khanal, Indu Acharya, and Moritz Knoche

Recent evidence suggests xylem functionality may decline in developing European plums. Loss of xylem function may have negative consequences for fruit quality. The aim of this study was to establish and localize the loss of xylem functionality, both spatially and temporally using detached fruit. Fruit were detached from the tree under water and fed through a capillary mounted on the cut end of the pedicel. The rate of water movement through the capillary was recorded. Fruit were held above dry silica gel [≈0% relative humidity (RH)] or above water (≈100% RH) to maximize or minimize transpiration, respectively. Water inflow rate depended on developmental stage. It increased from stage I to a maximum at early stage III and then decreased until maturity. Feeding acid fuchsin to developing fruit revealed a progressive decline in dye distribution. The decline progressed basipetally, from the stylar end toward the stem end. At the mature stage III, only the pedicel/fruit junction was stained. The same pattern was observed in four further plum cultivars at the mature stage III. The inflow into early stage III fruit decreased as the RH increased. In contrast, the inflow was less dependent of RH at the mature stage III. Abrading the fruit skin cuticle had no effect on water inflow during early and mature stage III but did markedly increase fruit transpiration rate. Decreasing the osmotic potential (more concentrated) of the feeding solution decreased the water inflow. Our results indicate a progressive loss of xylem functionality in European plum. Transpiration and osmotic pull are the main drivers of this xylem inflow.

Open access

Wei Wu, Shijia Wen, Tangkai Feng, Guoke Chen, and Bo Yang

Loropetalum chinense, one of three species in its genus in China, is distributed primarily in Hunan and Jiangxi Provinces. By establishing a Loropetalum gene bank and reviewing research on its varieties, genetic traits, and genetic diversity, we hope to promote the full yet sustainable use of this valuable, regionally varied natural resource. Our results will help promote the development of a broader resource economy.

Open access

Jack Olson and Matthew Clark

Variegation is a common trait in plants that characteristically displays white or off-colored plant tissue. In grapevine, leaf variegation is expressed as white and pale green leaf tissue resulting in plants that are stunted in growth and hindered in development. In this study, several experiments were performed to investigate the impact of this mutation has on the anatomy of grape leaves and physiology of the plant. Histological staining of variegated and nonvariegated leaf tissue transections showed alterations to the leaf palisade mesophyll structure that affected leaf tissue width. An assay quantifying leaf pigments was performed to compare chlorophyll and carotenoid concentrations in leaves between variegated and wild-type seedlings, which showed that variegated leaf samples had reduced chlorophyll and carotenoid concentration. Through fluorescence imaging, we determined that photochemical efficiency of photosystem II (PSII) is reduced in variegated seedlings. By growing variegated and wild-type plants under high, medium, and low light intensities that variegated plants exposed to higher light intensity reduces the phenotypic expression of the variegation trait. Also, we found variegated plants to have significant reductions in growth traits such as plant height, leaf number, branch number, and dry weight compared with wild-type phenotype plants. Overall, our experiments revealed the variegation mutation altered normal leaf development causing significant effects to grapevine physiology.

Open access

Emily Merewitz

Ice encasement of perennial cool-season turfgrasses is a common problem in many northern regions of the world, and the incidence of ice encasement may increase with climate change. The objective of this review was to discuss recent advances in knowledge of how ice encasement affects turfgrass systems, current knowledge gaps, and current and potential future management strategies that can be used by turfgrass managers to mitigate ice encasement damage to turfgrass species that are sensitive to this stress. Ice encasement is a complex and severe stress, which if prolonged can include low temperatures, anoxia, toxic gases, toxic metabolic by-products, and other complications associated with the stress. Thus, research is needed to specifically identify responses of different turfgrasses to this stress. Species such as annual bluegrass (Poa annua) are widespread in the turfgrass industry but do not have adequate tolerance of ice encasement and extensive plant necrosis can occur. Repairs or renovations of large areas damaged by ice encasement is costly. Research on ice encasement of turfgrass species is needed to provide efficient recommendations and management strategies to the turfgrass industry.

Open access

Han-Na Seo, Hyo-In Lim, Yong-Yul Kim, Seung-Beom Chae, and Wonwoo Cho

Identifying the morphological characteristics that distinguish plant varieties is an important issue for plant breeders and researchers. The objective of the present study was to create a partial least squares discrimination analysis (PLS-DA) model with morphological characteristics for species discrimination and to select the characteristics most important for species discrimination. Data for 27 vegetative characteristics were obtained from Salix caprea and Salix gracilistyla, and their interspecific hybrid (S. caprea × S. gracilistyla), and used for PLS-DA. According to this analysis, seven of the 27 characteristics were identified as those that most influenced species discrimination, and the PLS-DA model with these seven characteristics had a classification accuracy of 86% to 100%. The classification performance of this model was not significantly different from that of the model with all 27 characteristics (full model). Therefore, these results indicated that the three species can be relatively well distinguished by the seven characteristics extracted by PLS-DA. In addition, the selected characteristics can be used to select cross-breeding parents in subsequent breeding programs and to test the distinction, uniformity, and stability (DUS test) of the hybrid variety. From this perspective, PLS-DA is thought to be a useful methodology for classifying new plant varieties and providing information for breeding.

Open access

Claire Adkison, Kelly Richmond, Nico Lingga, Veronique Bikoba, and Elizabeth Mitcham

With increasing walnut production in California, walnuts are stored for longer times. It is increasingly important to optimize storage conditions, wherever possible, to reduce quality degradation. We examined the effects of temperature (5, 15, and 25 °C) and relative humidity (20%, 40%, and 60% in year 1 and 40%, 60%, and 80% in year 2) on the rate of quality degradation of four walnut varieties. The relationship between water activity and moisture content was investigated for each variety. In addition, the effects of harvest timing (early vs. late) and storage as shelled or in-shell product were investigated. Later harvested walnuts had darker kernel color (P < 0.001), and walnuts stored as kernels (shelled) had higher rates of peroxide formation and free fatty acid development than walnuts stored in-shell. Temperature had a significant effect on quality with faster degradation at higher temperatures. There was a significant interaction between temperature and relative humidity effects on quality. The effects of relative humidity were often not significant at storage temperatures of 5 °C but were apparent at 15 °C and at 25 °C. Managing relative humidity during walnut storage is difficult under typical commercial storage conditions; however, when low temperature storage is used, quality is preserved even when relative humidity is not controlled, although storage at 80% relative humidity should be avoided. To reduce the rate of color darkening and rancidity development during commercial storage, operators should emphasize storage at lower temperatures, at least below 15 °C.

Open access

Xiaojuan Wei, Siyu Wu, Xiaojing Liang, Kun Wang, Yuejuan Li, Baocai Li, Jinlin Ma, and Haiying Liang

Golden camellia flowers are treasured for their unique yellow color and bioactive chemical compounds. Because of its high market demand, there is strong interest in inducing early flowering in golden camellias for earlier harvest. Previously, we have successfully induced flowering in Camelia chrysantha (Hu) Tuyama juvenile grafted plants and seedlings with paclobutrazol (PBZ). During this study, we investigated the efficacy of PBZ on C. tamdaoensis juvenile rooted cuttings. C. tamdaoensis is a yellow-flowering camellia species that is native to Vietnam and valued by the local population. It was found that applications of 100 and 200 ppm PBZ generated an average of 13 and 30 flowers per 5-year-old plant, respectively. None of the control plants flowered. The average flower diameter was 17.2 cm for 100-ppm-induced flowers and 26.0 cm for 200-ppm-induced flowers. The dynamics of various phytohormones (indoleacetic acid, abscisic acid, salicylic acid, and jasmonic acid) were altered by PBZ treatment. It is suggested that low indoleacetic acid, high abscisic acid, and jasmonic acid and a gradual increase in salicylic acid benefit floral initiation of golden camellias. The study provided the first insight regarding the action mechanism of PBZ for the initiation of camellia flowering.

Open access

Kaitlyn M. Orde, Rich Marini, Kathleen Demchak, and Rebecca Sideman

The impact of photoselective films on strawberry plants in a low tunnel system has not been well investigated in the northeastern United States, nor have there been studies looking at the effect of mulch color in a plasticulture system. During two separate years (2016 and 2017), we evaluated ‘Albion’ in an annual system with three ground mulch treatments (black plastic, white-on-black plastic, and no plastic) and under six cover treatments. Five of the cover treatments were low tunnel films that varied in their ultraviolet, photosynthetically active, and near-infrared radiation transmission profiles: Tufflite IVTM (TIV), KoolLite Plus (KLP), Trioplast (TRP), and custom-manufactured UV-transparent (UVT) and UV-blocking (UVO) films. The sixth cover treatment was the traditional open bed environment (no low tunnel). ‘Albion’ produced fruit for 18 to 19 continuous weeks during both years until as late as Thanksgiving (24 Nov.) in 2016. Overall, the average marketable yield was greater in 2017 (486 g/plant) than in 2016 (350 g/plant), and it was greater on black mulch than on no mulch (445 vs. 380 g/plant, respectively); white mulch was intermediate (419 g/plant) (P ≤ 0.05). There was not a significant increase in marketable yield under low tunnels compared with open beds. The average fruit mass was greater under KLP and UVO than open beds (TIV and UVT were intermediate), and greater on beds with no mulch than black mulch (white mulch was intermediate). Across cover treatments, plants on black mulch produced more runners than plants on white or no mulch, and the black mulch/open bed treatment generated the greatest number of runners in both years, more than double most other treatments in 2016. The present study demonstrates that mulch selection is important for maximizing the yield of ‘Albion’ in the Northeast region, and that both mulch and cover impact runnering and fruit size. For plant propagators producing ‘Albion’ tips in a field environment, the results of this study suggest they are likely to maximize runner quantity by cultivating plants on black mulch without low tunnel cover.