A Three-dimensional Analysis of Summer Dormancy in the Red Spider Lily (Lycoris radiata)

in HortScience

Lycoris radiata has beautiful bright-red flowers with both medicinal and ornamental value. However, the mechanisms underlying an unusual characteristic of Lycoris radiata, flowering without leaves, remain unclear. In this study, climatic influences, biomass composition, and yearly variations in bulb contents across eight developmental stages of L. radiata were analyzed. Thus, L. radiata summer dormancy was investigated in three dimensions: climate-associated phenology, biomass distribution characteristics, and physiologic bulb changes. The results showed that dormancy was most strongly affected by high ambient temperature, followed by scape development, flowering, leafing out, vigorous leaf growth, flower bud differentiation, flower bud predifferentiation, and leaf maturation. Biomass allocation, bulb contents, oxidoreductase activity, and root activity fluctuated significantly in L. radiata among developmental stages. Relative bulb dry weight was greatest during the dormant period (95.95% of total dry weight) and lowest during vigorous leaf growth (November–December). Root biomass was also significantly greater during dormancy than during flowering, leaf maturation, and flower bud differentiation. Only root biomass during vigorous leaf growth was greater than root biomass during dormancy. However, in dormant bulbs, soluble sugar content, soluble protein content, root activity, superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and peroxidase (POD) activity decreased. Thus, summer dormancy in L. radiata only constitutes a morphologic dormancy of the aboveground plant; the bulb and root remain physiologically active. The results suggest that L. radiata is sensitive to both ambient temperature and light, and that summer dormancy is triggered by the synergistic stimulation of these two factors. Although temperature controls dormancy, it plays only a limited regulatory role during the L. radiata flowering period. Thus, it is difficult to induce flowering or regulate annual flowering in this species through temperature control alone.

Contributor Notes

This project was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31560226) and the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institution (PAPD).

These authors contributed equally to this article.

Corresponding author. E-mail: zhlu856@163.com.

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    Annual growth rhythms and phenologic characteristics of L. radiata. (I) Leafing out (October). (II) Vigorous leaf growth (November). (III) Leaf maturity (December–February). (IV) flower bud predifferentiation (March). (V) Flower bud differentiation (April–May). (VI) Dormancy (June–July). (VII) Scape development (August). (VIII) Flowering (September).

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    Biomass of Lycoris radiata organs and climatic data corresponding to different development stages. (A) Biomass of Lycoris radiata organs at different development stages. (B) Temperature data at different development stages. (C) Solar radiation data at different development stages. (D) Rainfall data at different development stages. I, leafing out (October); II, vigorous leaf growth (November); III, leaf maturity (December–February); IV, flower bud predifferentiation (March); V, flower bud differentiation (April–May); VI, dormancy (June–July); VII, scape development (August); VIII, flowering (September). Climatic data for Nanchang, Jiangxi province, China, from 1986 to 2015 was obtained from the Jiangxi meteorologic bureau.

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    Enzyme and root activity levels of Lycoris radiata at different development stages. I, leafing out (October); II, vigorous leaf growth (November); III, leaf maturity (December–February); IV, flower bud predifferentiation (March); V, flower bud differentiation (April–May); VI, dormancy (June–July); VII, scape development (August); VIII, flowering (September). POD, peroxide; SOD, superoxide dismutase.

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