Roses (Rosa L.) for the past 5000 years have been one of the most popular flowers used as garden plants, cut flowers, and for the food, medicinal, and fragrance industries (Shepherd, 1954; Zlesak, 2006). They were originally domesticated in the Northern Hemisphere and have been spread throughout the world (Krussmann, 1981). This widely used ornamental crop has a diversity of plant-growth habits and flower sizes, forms, colors, and fragrances.
The value of world rose production was estimated at 24 billion Euros in 2008 (Heinrichs, 2008), and the Dutch rose cut-flower market was estimated to be worth $10 billion (Ahmad et al., 2010). Recently, the annual value of the North American landscape rose industry was estimated at $1 billion (Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, 2013). Owing to the lack of well-adapted cultivars, garden rose sales have decreased from 25% to 30% during the past 20 years (Byrne et al., 2010; Hutton, 2012; Pemberton and Karlik, 2015).
Heat stress is one of the most significant abiotic stresses which negatively affects landscape performance by causing leaf damage, flower abscission, and decreased flower size and quality. These effects greatly reduce the market value of garden roses. Heat or high temperature stress is one of the major limiting abiotic factors for plant growth throughout the world. Hence, a rose with high temperature tolerance and consistent flowering during the warm season would contribute toward maintaining an aesthetically pleasing landscape appearance (Greyvenstein et al., 2014).
Garden roses suffer from poor flower quality and decreasing flower yield due to high temperatures. Average daily maximum temperatures 8–14 d (about 2 weeks) before a flower opens significantly affects flower dry weight (Greyvenstein, 2013; Greyvenstein et al., 2014). Excessive heat stress may cause negative effects on the longevity and quality of a cut rose (Marissen, 2001; Moe, 1975; Wahid et al., 2007), as well as on flower size, petal number, flower color, flower number (by increasing flower abscission), number of vegetative nodes before flowering, time to flowering, or leaf appearance (Greyvenstein, 2013; Greyvenstein et al., 2014; Grossi et al., 2004; Shin et al., 2001). Thus far, differences in heat tolerance have been detected among rose cultivars in their ability to maintain consistent flower size and numerous flowers under heat stress in the field and in flower abscission and leaf necrosis in response to a heat-shock treatment [3 h, 44 °C, 50% relative humidity (RH)] (Greyvenstein, 2013; Greyvenstein et al., 2014), but little is known about the genetic basis of these differences. This study was to determine if differences in floral heat tolerance were detectable with a heat-shock treatment.
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