High Soluble Salts Affects Water Loss and Bract Necrosis of Poinsettia

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  • 1 Dept. of Plant Science, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs, CT 06269-4067

`Angelika White' poinsettias (Euphoria pulcherrima Willd.ex. Klotzch) were grown hydroponically with modified Hoagland's solution concentrations of 2 or 8 mS·cm-1. The 8-mS·cm–1 rate was imposed by proportionate increases in Ca(NO3)2, KNO3, and MgSO4. Water use, whole plant fresh mass, and pan evaporation were measured gravimetrically twice weekly over a 2-week period beginning 12 Oct. 1995. Poinsettia leaf water loss (g H2O/dm2 of estimated leaf area per day) was 0.30 and 0.22 times pan evaporation (g H2O/dm2 of pan area per day) for the plants in the 2 and 8 mS·cm–1 solutions, respectively (a 25% reduction in water loss for plants in the 8 mS·cm–1 solution), as compared to plants in the 2 mS·cm–1 solution. At initial anthesis, a reciprocal transfer of plants between the 2 and 8 mS·cm–1 solutions was used to investigate the time when plants were sensitive to high soluble salts for bract necrosis. Other plants were maintained throughout the experiment in the 2 and 8 mS·cm–1 solutions. On 15 Jan. 1996, plants were harvested and total lamina surface of leaves and bracts, number of necrotic bracts, and dry mass of leaves, bracts, stems, and roots were recorded. The results indicated that exposure to high soluble salts (8 mS·cm–1) prior to anthesis significantly increased the percent incidence of bract necrosis and decreased root growth. The smaller the root dry mass as a percent of total plant dry mass the greater the incidence of bract necrosis (Y = 0.0972X2 – 3.78X + 38.7, r2 = 0.69).

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