The effect of temperature on axillary bud and lateral shoot development of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) `Eckespoint Lilo' and `Eckespoint Red Sails' was examined. Rooted `Eckespoint Lilo' cuttings were transplanted and placed into growth chambers maintained at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C for 2 weeks before apex removal. The percentage of nodes developing lateral shoots after apex removal was 68%, 69%, 73%, or 76% at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C, respectively. Cuttings were removed from the lateral shoots, rooted, and placed into a 21 °C greenhouse, and the apices were removed. The percentage of nodes developing into lateral shoots on cuttings taken from plants held at 21, 24, 27, and 30 °C were 74%, 65%, 66%, and 21%, respectively. Of the cuttings in the 30 °C treatment, 83% of the nodes not producing a lateral shoot had poorly developed axillary buds or no visible axillary bud development. Visual rating of axillary bud viability decreased from 100% to 0% when `Eckespoint Red Sails' plants were transferred from a 21 °C greenhouse to a greenhouse maintained at 27 °C night temperature and 30 °C for 3 hours followed by 33 °C for 10 hours and 30 °C for 3 hours during the 16-hour day. Transfer from the high-temperature greenhouse to a 21 °C greenhouse increased axillary bud viability from 0% to 95%. Axillary buds of leaves not yet unfolded were sensitive to high temperatures, whereas those of unfolded leaves (i.e., fully developed correlatively inhibited buds) were not. Sixteen consecutive days in the high-temperature treatment were required for axillary bud development of `Eckespoint Red Sails' to be inhibited.
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