Roses (Rosa sp.) have been one of the most popular floral decorations for the past 5000 years and are commercially used as garden plants, cut flowers, and for food/medicinal/fragrance industrial use (Gudin, 2000; Shepherd, 1954; Zlesak, 2006). They were originally domesticated in the northern hemisphere and have been spread throughout the world (Krussmann, 1981). This widely used ornamental crop has a diversity of plant types, flower shapes, and flower colors.
Roses rank in the top five most popular cut flowers in the United States and in the top five ornamental crops in the world (Debener and Linde, 2009; Hodges et al., 2015). In 2003, the estimated production of rose was 18 billion cut stems, 60–80 million potted plants, and 220 million garden plants (Blom and Tsujita, 2003; Pemberton et al., 2003; Roberts et al., 2003). The value of the world rose production was estimated at 24 billion Euros in 2008 (Heinrichs, 2008) and the Dutch rose cut flower market was estimated to be worth $10 billion (Ahmad et al., 2010). Recently, the annual value of the North American garden rose industry was estimated at $1 billion (Vineland Research and Innovation Center, 2013). Unfortunately, because of the lack of well-adapted cultivars, the sale of garden roses has decreased 25% to 30% during the past 20 years (Byrne et al., 2010; Hutton, 2012; Pemberton and Karlik, 2015).
High temperature or heat stress is one of the major limiting abiotic factors for plant growth throughout the world. Heat stress in rose causes leaf damage, flower abscission, and decreased flower size and quality which greatly reduce market value. The average daily maximum temperatures 8–14 d before a flower opens affects flower dry weight significantly (Greyvenstein et al., 2014). Excessive heat stress may cause a negative effect on longevity and quality of a cut rose (Marissen, 2001; Moe, 1975; Wahid et al., 2007) as well as on flower size, petal number, flower color (intensity, anthocyanin concentration), flower number (by increasing flower abscission), flower productivity (percent flower canopy cover, leaf area), the number of vegetative nodes before flowering, the time to flowering, and leaf appearance in both cut flower (Dela et al., 2003; Gitonga et al., 2014; Shin et al., 2001) and garden roses (Greyvenstein, 2013; Greyvenstein et al., 2014). High temperature also reduced flowering stem length and plant height because the plant reaches the florogenesis and anthesis stage much earlier (Gitonga et al., 2014). With diploid roses, a heat shock treatment (1 h at 44 °C) decreased flower diameter (15.7%), petal number (23.3%), and flower dry weight (16.9%). A genetic analysis indicated that flower size is heritable although the heat stress uniformly affected all populations/genotypes when examining petal numbers and flower dry weight. However, for flower diameter, there was a small genotype × environment effect indicating that the populations/genotypes responded differentially to heat stress. Thus it appears flower size heat tolerance exists in diploid roses (Liang et al., 2017). A rose with high temperature tolerance and consistent flowering during the warm season will contribute to maintaining a good landscape appearance (Greyvenstein et al., 2014).
As variation in heat tolerance has been detected among rose cultivars and populations in their ability to maintain acceptable flower size and flower production under heat stress (Greyvenstein, 2013; Greyvenstein et al., 2014; Liang et al., 2017), this project documented the effect of summer heat and assessed the genetic basis of heat tolerance as expressed in the changes of flower diameter, petal number, flower dry weight, and flower number per inflorescence in a field setting for diploid roses. The long-term goal of this project is to develop high temperature–tolerant garden rose cultivars that are well adapted to the southern United States and similar hot humid climates.
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