The development of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L., `Bing') flower buds from winter through anthesis was examined. Shoots were collected from the top and bottom of the canopy. The weight and size of flower buds and primordia produced on last-season's and 1-year-old wood were measured. As early as mid-December bud and primordia size and weight were greater on last-season's wood than on 1-year-old wood, with the largest and heaviest buds and primordia produced on last-season's wood in the bottom of the canopy. There was a significant negative correlation between the number of primordia per bud and primordium weight. The relationship between flower bud and primordia size during mid-December and ovary size at anthesis suggests a causal relationship, which may be a major source of variation influencing harvested fruit size and quality.
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