(233) Comparison of Inflorescence Morphology, Anthesis and Floral Sex Expression in Bottlebrush and Red Buckeye

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  • 1 1The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Science, Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, Wooster, OH, 44691
  • | 2 2The Ohio State University, Horticulture and Crop Science, Columbus, OH, 43210

As a prelude to interspecific hybridization, we compared the floral biology of bottlebrush buckeye (Aesculus parviflora) and red buckeye (A. pavia) by examining inflorescence morphology, pattern of floral anthesis, sex expression, and the effects of panicle decapitation on complete flower development. Inflorescences of both species (n = 1606) were randomly selected and analyzed for length, total number of flowers and complete flower number and location. The pattern of anthesis was observed in four genotypes using 10–30 inflorescences per plant. For each flower, its date of anthesis, position on both the rachis and cincinnus, and sex were recorded. For studies of panicle decapitation, sets of panicles were selected and one member was severed in half early in development in an attempt to increase the number of complete flowers. More than one-fourth of all panicles observed were completely staminate. For both species, the ratio of complete flowers to male flowers (C:M) within mixed panicles was about 5%. Complete flowers were observed in the basal portion of A. pavia inflorescences and in the apical portion of A. parviflora inflorescences. Anthesis progressed from base to tip over a period of 6–11 days. Complete flowers are present in A. pavia from the beginning of anthesis but do not appear in A. parviflora until the fifth day of anthesis. Staminate flowers are present throughout anthesis in both species. Severing panicles in half increased the potential for differentiating complete flowers. In conclusion, the frequency of complete flowers in both species was quite low, but could be increased by panicle decapitation to increase opportunities for controlled hybridization.

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