Anatomical Changes in Rudbeckia hirta L. during Transition to Flowering

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, VA24041-0327

Histological and histochemical examination of floral initiation was conducted to determine the pattern of flowering in Rudbeckia hirta, a long-day (LD) plant. Plants were grown under 8-hour short days (SDs) until they had 14 to 16 expanded leaves. Half of the group of plants was moved to LD conditions consisting of natural daylength plus a 4-hour night interruption. Rudbeckia hirta had a pattern of differentiation in flowering similar to that reported in species requiring one inductive day for initiation. Rudbeckia hirta required 8 LDs for evocation and 18 LDs for completion of initiation. Involucral bracts initiated after 18 LDs, after which the receptacle enlarged and was capped by a meristematic mantle of cells signaling the start of development. Floret primordia did not initiate, even after 20 LDs. Increases in pyronin staining were observed in actively dividing cells of the procambium, leaf primordium, and corpus of the vegetative meristems. After 8 LDs, the pith rib meristem stained darkly, a result indicating the arrival of the floral stimulus. An increase in pyronin staining was also observed in the meristematic mantle covering the receptacle after 18 LDs, a result indicating increased RNA levels.