Effects of Daffodil Flowers on the Water Relations and Vase Life of Roses and Tulips

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
W.G. van DoornAgrotechnological Research Institute (ATO-DLO), P.O. Box 17, 6700 AA Wageningen, The Netherlands

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Placing a daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus L. `Carlton') flower in a vase with a rose (Rosa hybrida L. Sonia) flower reduced water uptake by the rose and resulted in precocious wilting of its leaves and flower and in pedicel bending. These symptoms were also observed when mucilage from daffodil stems was placed in the vase water. The effects of the mucilage and the daffodil stem were overcome by adding 8-hydroxyquinoline (HQC) to the vase solution. HQC inhibits ethylene production and is an antimicrobial compound. Aminoethyoxyvinylglycine (AVG) or silver thiosulfate (STS), inhibitors of ethylene synthesis and action, respectively, did not alleviate the mucilage effects, but sodium hypochlorite, an antimicrobial compound, did. Bacterial counts in the basal 5-cm segment of rose stems increased after placing mucilage or a daffodil stem in the vase water, and counts were reduced by adding HQC or sodium hypochlorite. One daffodil stem also reduced the vase life of tulips (Tulipa gesneriana L. `Frappant' and `Apeldoorn'), which showed precocious leaf yellowing. This was not alleviated by HQC and was also found when mucilage was placed on the leaf surface. Placing mucilage on the leaf produced no effect in roses. Separating the mucilage indicated that the effect in roses is mainly due to the sugar and polysaccharide fraction and the effect in tulips is due to a fraction containing several alkaloids. The results indicate that the decreased vase life of rose flowers, after one daffodil is placed in their vase water, is due to daffodil mucilage, which, in the rose cultivar tested, blocks water uptake, mainly as a result of increased bacterial growth. In the tulip cultivars tested, the negative effect on vase life is primarily due to mucilage toxicity.

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