Growth and Calcium Partitioning in Lilium `Star Gazer' in Relation to Leaf Calcium Deficiency

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-5904

Upper leaf necrosis (ULN) on Lilium `Star Gazer' has been recently demonstrated to be a calcium (Ca) deficiency disorder. In the current studies, we confirmed this by using a Ca-free nutrient regime to reproduce ULN symptoms. The ability of a bulbous storage organ to supply calcium to a growing shoot is poorly understood. Therefore, we conducted experiments to determine Ca partitioning during early growth stages, and under suboptimal Ca levels to determine how the bulb affects the symptomatology. The results indicated that ULN is originally caused by an insufficient Ca supply from the bulb. In the most susceptible period, bulb dry matter decreased dramatically and Ca concentrations in immature folded leaves dropped to very low levels. Consequently, necrosis began to appear on the upper, young leaves. The bulb was able to supply Ca to other organs, but only to a limited extent since Ca concentration in bulbs was low (0.04% w/w). To confirm this result, we cultivated lilies with low-Ca or Ca-free nutrient solution and obtained bulbs with extremely low internal Ca concentrations. Upon forcing these low-Ca bulbs, we found, as expected, prominent necrosis symptoms on the lower and middle leaves. Data suggested the lower and middle leaves relied more on Ca supplied from the bulb, while upper leaves and flowers relied more on Ca uptake from the roots. Different organs have different Ca requirements, and tissue sensitivity to Ca deficiency varies according to the growth stage.

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