Occurrence of Sugar Alcohols Determines Boron Toxicity Symptoms of Ornamental Species

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

The phloem mobility of boron (B) in plants varies dramatically among species. Variations in phloem B mobility occur as a consequence of the presence of sugar alcohols (polyols) in some species but not in others, and these differences in phloem B mobility profoundly affect the expression of B toxicity symptoms. Twenty-four species including common ornamental species varying in sugar alcohol content, were selected to test their response to B toxicity. Species that do not produce sugar alcohols exhibited previously described B toxicity symptoms that include accumulation of high concentrations of B in, and burning of, the tip and margin of old leaves. In the sugar-alcohol-producing species these symptoms were absent, and B toxicity was expressed as meristematic dieback and an accumulation of B in apical tissues. These symptoms have not previously been associated with B toxicity in these species and hence may have been frequently misdiagnosed.

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