Thermomorphogenic and Photoperiodic Responses of Nephrolepis exaltata `Dallas Jewel'

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Sciences, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108
  • 2 Department of Horticulture, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 44824

Nephrolepis exaltata (L.) Schott `Dallas Jewel' plants were grown for 92 days under 16 day/night temperature (DT/NT) regimes and two photoperiods for a total of 32 environments. Temperatures ranged from 15 to 30 ± 1.5C. Photoperiod was either 9 hours (short days) or 9 hours plus a 4-hour night interruption (long days) using incandescent lamps. Photoperiod had no significant effect on either morphology or development rate. Frond length and leaflet count per frond were highly correlated with the average daily temperature (ADT). Frond length increased from 9.3 to 21.9 cm and leaflet count increased from 21 to 42 leaflets per frond as ADT increased from 15 to 30C. Solon count and frond orientation were highly correlated with the weighted difference (WDIF) between DT and NT. The weighted difference between DT and NT was equal to: (DT × photoperiod) - (NT × scotoperiod). The scotoperiod was inclusive of the night interruption. Stolon count increased as the weighted NT increased relative to the weighted DT, i.e., as WDIF decreased. In contrast, frond angle relative to the soil surface, i.e., frond orientation, increased as WDIF increased. Frond unfolding rate and total plant dry weight increased as temperature increased to ≈ 25C, then decreased.

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