Ethylene induces significant petal abscission in regal pelargonium (Pelargonium ×domesticum L.H. Bailey). Three genotypes, `Elegance Silver' and its progeny, 00-43-1 and 00-43-2, were developed with exceptional production and postproduction characteristics. These genotypes had significantly enhanced individual floret longevity and whole plant longevity, and displayed more than twice as many florets as commercial cultivars. Dose response analysis demonstrated that `Elegance Silver' has reduced ethylene responsiveness throughout floret development, shown by lower petal abscission than other cultivars over a range of ethylene concentrations. Floret longevity was strongly correlated with ethylene responsiveness as indicated by S50 (ethylene concentration for 50% petal abscission), but not with ethylene production. These results suggest that reduced ethylene responsiveness is an important determinant of enhanced postproduction performance in the superior genotypes of regal pelargonium.
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