The Relationship between Carbohydrates and Flower Bud Hardiness among Three Forsythia Taxa

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN 47907

The accumulation of total soluble sugars (TSS) and starch and their relationship to flower bud hardiness were studied in three Forsythia taxa: Forsythia ×intermedia `Spectabilis', Forsythia ×intermedia `Lynwood', and F. suspensa. Taxon hardiness was based on the mean temperature at which low temperature exotherms (LTEs) occurred during thermal analysis. Ethanol-extracted soluble sugars were quantified with anthrone, and starch was enzymatically digested and quantified with Trinder reagent. Qualitative changes in sugar content were determined with high-performance liquid chromatography and co-chromatography of authentic standards. Quantitative and qualitative changes in sugar content, similar for the three taxa, were observed in conjunction with fluctuations in flower bud hardiness, although neither TSS nor starch were correlated with mean LTE temperature. TSS was higher in acclimated than nonacclimated buds. However, after deacclimation began, sugars continued to increase with mean LTE temperature. Buds lacked starch except for a brief period during deacclimation. Galactose, stachyose, raffinose, and an unidentified carbohydrate were positively correlated with hardiness (P = 0.005, 0.001, 0.005, and 0.001, respectively).