Easter Lilies React Differently to Short- or Long-term Exposure of Ethylene or Methane at Different Stages of Forcing

in HortTechnology

The sensitivity of easter lilies (Lilium longiflorum) to either ethylene or methane (products of incomplete burning in gas-fired unit heaters) was tested during rooting [3 weeks at 18 °C (65 °F)], vernalization [6 weeks at 6 °C (43 °F)] and subsequent greenhouse forcing (15 weeks at 18 °C). Starting at planting, easter lilies were exposed for one of seven consecutive 3-week periods (short-term), or for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, or 21 weeks starting at planting (long-term) to either ethylene or methane at an average concentration of 2.4 and 2.5 μL·L-1(ppm), respectively. Short- or long-term exposure to ethylene during rooting and vernalization had no effect on the number of buds, leaves, or plant height but increased the number of days to flower. Short-term exposure within 6 weeks after vernalization reduced the number of buds by 1 bud/plant compared to the control (no ethylene exposure). However, extensive bud abortion occurred when plants were exposed to ethylene during the flower development phase. Long-term exposure to ethylene from planting until after the flower initiation period resulted in only two to three buds being initiated, while continued long-term exposure until flowering caused all flower buds to abort. Short-term exposure to methane at any time had no effect on leaf yellowing, bud number, bud abortion, or height and had only a marginal effect on production time. Long-term exposure to methane from planting until the end of vernalization increased both the number of buds, leaves and height without affecting forcing time, leaf yellowing or bud abortion.

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