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Free access

David M. Czarnecki II, Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Rosanna Freyre, and Zhanao Deng

Lantana camara L. (Verbenaceae) is native to the West Indies (Sanders, 2001) and was introduced to most tropical regions by 1900 (Howard, 1969). Plants of this species produce showy flowers year-round, attract numerous species of butterflies (Schemske, 1976), tolerate harsh environmental conditions (Schoellhorn, 2004), have low maintenance requirements, and are easy to propagate (Beaulieu, 2008; Grant and Parsons, 1989; Howard, 1969). These attributes make L. camara highly desirable for use in containers, hanging baskets, and landscapes (Beaulieu, 2008; Grant and

Free access

Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Zhanao Deng, Keona L. Nolan, and James Aldrich

A wild-type selection of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and eight cultivars were evaluated in northern and southern Florida for 144 weeks. Onset of flowering generally began by April and May in southern Florida and 4 to 8 weeks later in northern Florida. Fruit was first noted 4 to 8 weeks after most cultivars began flowering. Landscape performance and fruit production varied widely among taxa and location. ‘AKA’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, and ‘Firestorm’ heavenly bamboo did not flower or fruit in either location. Greater plant growth, survival, and fruiting were observed in northern Florida than in southern Florida. In both locations, the wild-type form of heavenly bamboo produced more fruit than ‘Alba’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Monfar’, and ‘Moyer’s Red’. Seed viability was fairly consistent among fruiting cultivars, ranging from 69% to 89%. Nuclear DNA content and ploidy analysis indicated that all nine nandina cultivars were diploids, suggesting that tetraploidy is not the genetic cause of the non-fruiting trait in ‘AKA’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, and ‘Firestorm’. Results of this study offer insight into future non-invasive heavenly bamboo breeding efforts and emphasize the importance of cultivar and geographic distinctions when regarding the invasive status of a species.

Free access

Zhanao Deng*, Brent K. Harbaugh, Rick Kelly, Teresa Seijo, and Robert J. McGovern

Caladiums (Caladium × hortulanum) are widely grown for their bright colorful leaves. Pythium root rot, caused primarily by P. myriotylum, is one of the most important diseases in caladiums. This disease can dramatically reduce plant growth, impact plant aesthetical value, and lower tuber yield. Pythium infection in the roots may also lead to subsequent entry of Fusarium into tubers resulting in tuber rot. There has been a strong interest in the tuber production and greenhouse plant production industries to identify cultivars that are resistant or tolerant to Pythium. However, few studies have been conducted since the pathogen was identified, and little information is available regarding the existence of any possible resistance in commercial cultivars. Pythium isolates were made from diseased plants collected from different sites; their pathogenicity was confirmed using tissue culture-derived plants. Procedures were developed for oogonia spore production, inoculation, and disease severity assessment. Nineteen major commercial cultivars were inoculated at two spore densities and then maintained in greenhouses under growing conditions favorable for root rotting. Plant appearance, leaf characteristics and severity of root rotting were evaluated 2-3 times after inoculation. Observations indicated that the isolates were highly virulent. They induced visible root rot within 3-5 days, and caused a complete loss of the root system and plant death for some cultivars within 2-3 weeks after inoculation. Several cultivars, including `Candidum' and `Frieda Hemple' which are widely grown cultivars, had much less root rot, higher plant survival, and seemed to have moderate levels of resistance.

Free access

Fahrettin Goktepe, Teresa Seijo, Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, Natalia A. Peres, and Robert J. McGovern

Fusarium tuber rot, incited by Fusarium solani, is the major cause of losses of tuber quality and quantity in caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum) during storage and production. To develop a reliable inoculation method for evaluating cultivar susceptibility to Fusarium tuber rot and identifying sources of resistance, the effect of temperature on the mycelial growth of F. solani in vitro and on tuber rot in vivo was examined. The optimal temperature was then used to study the aggressiveness of F. solani isolates. The effect of temperature (13, 18, 23, 28, and 33 °C) on radial mycelial growth of nine F. solani isolates in vitro was determined, and all responded similarly to temperature variables, with optimal growth predicted to be at 30.5 °C. The relationship of these temperatures to disease development was then determined for the most aggressive F. solani isolate 05-20 and it was found that disease development in inoculated tubers was greatest at low temperatures (13 and 18 °C). Cold damage to tubers was observed at 13 °C; therefore, 18 °C was chosen for all future disease screening. The aggressiveness of nine isolates was tested on two caladium cultivars. Significant differences among isolates were observed for the diameter of rotted tissue in both cultivars, indicating that choice of isolate was important for screening. Isolates 05-20 and 05-257 were highly aggressive on both cultivars. Tubers of 17 commercial caladium cultivars were inoculated with three isolates (04-03, 05-20, and 05-527) and incubated at 18 °C. The interaction between isolates and cultivars was highly significant (P < 0.0001), indicating that cultivars were not equally susceptible to different pathogenic isolates of F. solani. Lesion diameters differed significantly (P < 0.0001) among cultivars/isolates and ranged from 9.5 mm (‘Rosebud’ and ‘White Christmas’ for isolate 04-03) to 23.9 mm (‘Carolyn Whorton’ for isolate 05-20). The cultivars were ranked for susceptibility to tuber rot within each isolate and the normalized total rank for the three isolates was used to place cultivars into four categories: resistant (‘Candidum’, ‘Rosebud’, ‘White Christmas’, ‘Florida Sweetheart’, and ‘Aaron’), moderately resistant (‘White Wing’ and ‘Red Flash’), susceptible (‘Candidum Jr.’, ‘White Queen’, ‘Red Frill’, ‘Florida Cardinal’, ‘Miss Muffet’, and ‘Postman Joyner’), and highly susceptible (‘Fannie Munson’, ‘Gingerland’, ‘Frieda Hemple’, and ‘Carolyn Whorton’). The availability of these sources of host plant resistance, aggressive isolates, and resistance assessment techniques will facilitate the development of new Fusarium-resistant caladium cultivars.

Open access

Renjuan Qian, S. Brooks Parrish, Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, and Zhanao Deng

Porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), a member of the verbena family, is frequently used in pollinator gardens to attract butterflies. This study was conducted to assess the morphological features, pollen stainability and morphology, nuclear DNA content, and chromosome number of five porterweed selections. Coral porterweed (S. mutabilis), ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed (S. cayennensis × S. mutabilis ‘Violacea’), and nettleleaf porterweed (S. cayennensis) had the largest plant heights. Flower number was significantly higher in nettleleaf porterweed, jamaican porterweed (S. jamaicensis), and U*J3-2 porterweed (S. cayennensis × S. jamaicensis), with an average of 65–72 flowers per inflorescence. Internode length and flower width of jamaican porterweed had much lower values than the other selections. Coral porterweed recorded the lowest pollen stainability with only 10.6% stainability, but it had the largest relative pollen production. ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed had the highest DNA content with an average of 3.79 pg/2C, like jamaican porterweed with 3.73 pg/2C. Ploidy levels varied between selections, and the basic chromosome number was x = 28. Coral, jamaican, and ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed had 2n = 6x = 168 chromosomes, first reported in this genus. These results provide a guide and a new tool to distinguish native and non-native porterweed and may aid future breeding toward the production of noninvasive cultivars.

Open access

Sandra B. Wilson, Carlee Steppe, Zhanao Deng, Keri Druffel, Gary W. Knox, and Edzard van Santen

Trailing lantana [Lantana montevidensis (Spreng.) Briq.] is a low-growing, woody ornamental valued for its heat and drought tolerance and repeat blooming of purple or white flowers throughout much of the year. In 2011, trailing lantana was predicted to have high invasion risk by the UF-IFAS’s assessment of non-native plants in Florida, and therefore it was no longer recommended for use. All cultivars fall under this designation unless proven otherwise. Eight trailing lantana varieties were obtained from wholesale growers or naturalized populations found in Texas and Australia. Plants were propagated vegetatively, finished in 4-inch pots, and planted in field trials located in central (Balm) and northern (Citra) Florida. Throughout the 24-week study from June to November, mean plant quality was between 4.4 and 4.7 (on a 1 to 5 scale) for U.S. varieties and 3.9 for the Australian form. Mean flowering was between 4.1 and 4.5 (on a 1 to 5 scale) for U.S. trailing lantana varieties and 3.5 for Australian trailing lantana. Australian trailing lantana differed from other U.S. varieties tested, being smaller in size, more sensitive to cold, and having a high female fertility index (producing abundant fruit with viable seed per peduncle). Our findings indicate that some U.S. varieties of trailing lantana are unlikely to present an ecological threat and merit consideration for production and use.

Open access

Sandra B. Wilson, Julia Rycyna, Zhanao Deng, and Gary Knox

Over the course of nearly 2 decades, the resident or wild-type form of heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica) and 25 additional selections have been evaluated for landscape performance and invasive potential in various trial locations in Florida. Overall, in northern Florida (Quincy and Citra), ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Umpqua Chief’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Monfar’ (Sienna Sunrise®), ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Greray’ (Sunray®), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’ (Flirt™), ‘SEIKA’ (Obsession™), and ‘Twilight’ performed well throughout much of the study with average ratings between 3.0 and 4.9 (1 to 5 scale). In southern Florida (Balm and Fort Pierce), ‘AKA’ (Blush Pink™), ‘Compacta’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Firestorm’™, ‘Greray’, ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’ (Harbor Belle™), ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Monum’ (Plum Passion®), ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ performed well with average ratings between 3.0 and 5.0. Among selections evaluated, plant sizes were categorized as small, medium, or large, where the final plant height ranged from 20 to 129 cm, and the plant perpendicular width ranged from 15 to 100 cm. Almost three-fourths of the selections evaluated had little to no fruiting when compared with the wild-type form. ‘AKA’, ‘Chime’, ‘Filamentosa’, ‘Firehouse’, ‘Firepower’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon- Lime’, ‘Moon Bay’, and ‘SEIKA’ did not fruit at any of the trial sites. In northern Florida, small amounts of fruit (94% to 99.9% reduction) were observed for ‘Gulf Stream’, ‘Harbour Dwarf’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Murasaki’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Twilight’, and the twisted leaf selection. Moderate amounts of fruit (62% to 83% reduction) were observed for ‘Alba’, ‘Emerald Sea’, ‘Lowboy’, ‘Moyer’s Red’, and ‘Umpqua Chief’. Heavy fruiting comparable or greater than the wild type was observed for ‘Compacta’ and ‘Monum’. Pregermination seed viability ranged from 67% to 100% among fruiting selections with 5.5% to 32.0% germination in 60 days. Germination was considerably higher (58% to 82%) when the germination time was extended to 168 days. Nuclear DNA content of selections were comparable to the wild type suggesting they are diploid. Thus, ploidy level does not appear to be associated with female infertility of those little-fruiting heavenly bamboo selections. Overall, our findings revealed certain selections of heavenly bamboo that have little potential to present an ecological threat and thus merit consideration for production and use. As a result, the University of Florida(UF)/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ (IFAS) Status Assessment on Non-native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas infraspecific taxon protocol has concluded that ‘Firepower’ and ‘Harbour Dwarf’ are noninvasive and can be recommended for production and use in Florida. In addition, due to acceptable plant performance and low to no fruiting capacity, our research supports that ‘Firehouse’, ‘AKA’, ‘Firestorm’, ‘Gulfstream’, ‘Jaytee’, ‘Monfar’, ‘Royal Princess’, ‘Greray’, ‘Lemon-Lime’, ‘Murasaki’, and ‘SEIKA’ be considered for future noninvasive status approval.

Free access

Mohammed I. Fetouh, Abdul Kareem, Gary W. Knox, Sandra B. Wilson, and Zhanao Deng

A number of privet species (Ligustrum spp.) that are important to the nursery and landscape industry have escaped cultivation and become invasive or weedy in the United States and other countries. Induced tetraploids in these species may produce new selections or cultivars with reduced or eliminated invasive potential. Applying drops of semisolid agar containing 0.1% to 0.3% colchicine and 0.2% dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) to newly emerged seedlings of japanese privet (Ligustrum japonicum Thunb.) resulted in 15.6% to 22.6% tetraploid induction. The nuclear DNA content of tetraploids was 5.31 pg/2C, 101.9% higher than that of diploids. Compared with diploid plants, tetraploids were more compact, with an average of 31.0% shorter plant height and 33.1% smaller canopy width. Tetraploids had 29.2% thicker internodes, and their leaves were 39.5% larger and 33.8% thicker, resulting in 42.1% to 24.1% greater fresh or dry leaf weights (per leaf) in tetraploids compared with diploids. Without indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) treatment, cuttings from tetraploids showed 28% lower rooting than diploids. IBA treatments improved the rooting of tetraploid cuttings, resulting in 65% rooting success. These results indicate that tetraploids can be readily induced in japanese privet and induced tetraploids show significant changes in plant growth and size, shoot growth, leaf morphology, and rooting of cuttings. The modified tetraploid induction method and the induced tetraploids are expected to be useful for producing new selections or cultivars with reduced invasive potential in japanese and other privets.

Free access

Sandra B. Wilson, Gary W. Knox, Keona L. Muller, Rosanna Freyre, and Zhanao Deng

Nettleleaf porterweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis) is a potentially invasive ornamental plant in Florida. Plant growth, visual quality, flowering, and seed viability were assessed for nettleleaf porterweed and eight closely related alternatives planted in northern and southern Florida. In northern Florida, ‘Mario Pollsa’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), ‘Violacea’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis), ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), ‘Red Compact’ porterweed (Stachytarpheta speciosa), and nettleleaf porterweed (Stachytarpheta cayennensis) achieved high flower ratings between 4 (average to good flowering) and 5 (abundant flowering, peak bloom) during 4 or more months. Also, jamaican porterweed (Stachytarpheta jamaicensis), ‘Violacea’ porterweed, ‘Red Compact’ porterweed, and nettleleaf porterweed achieved visual quality ratings between 4 and 5 (good to excellent quality) throughout most of the study. In southern Florida, the same cultivars received high flower ratings but generally for shorter periods of time. Also, ‘Violacea’ porterweed and ‘Red Compact’ porterweed consistently received visual quality ratings that were above 4 (good quality, very desirable). During the course of the 28-week study, nettleleaf porterweed produced the greatest number of spiked inflorescences with 39% to 80% seed viability. At both locations, ‘Violacea’ porterweed did not produce any viable seed and seed viability was less than 10% for ‘Mario Pollsa’ porterweed, coral porterweed (Stachytarpheta mutabilis), and ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed.

Free access

Rosanna Freyre, Zhanao Deng, Gary W. Knox, Steven Montalvo, and Victor Zayas

Ruellia L. is the second largest genus in the Acanthaceae and consists of ≈300 species of perennial herbs, shrubs, small trees, and lianas with tropical, subtropical, or temperate distribution (Tripp, 2007). Ruellia simplex Wright (commonly known as mexican petunia, mexican bluebell, or britton’s petunia) has low maintenance requirements and prolific flowering, and has become a very popular landscape plant in the southern United States (Gilman, 1999) since its introduction to Florida sometime before 1940 (Hupp et al., 2009).

Ruellia simplex has naturalized in disturbed uplands and wetlands of seven southern