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Charlotte M. Guimond, Preston K. Andrews, and Gregory A. Lang

Flower initiation and development in `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) was examined using scanning electron microscopy. There was a 1- to 2-week difference in the time of initiation of flower buds on summer pruned current season shoots (P) compared to buds borne on unpruned shoots (U) or spurs (S). By late July, this difference was obvious in morphological development. The P buds had already formed floral primordia, while the S and U buds showed little differentiation in the meristem until early August. In general, buds from unpruned shoots were similar developmentally to spur buds. By late August, primordial differentiation was similar in the buds from all the wood types; however, buds from pruned shoots were significantly larger (838 μm) than buds from spurs (535 μm) and unpruned shoots (663 μm). Early summer pruning may shift allocation of resources from terminal shoot elongation to reproductive meristem development at the base of current season shoots. The similarity in reproductive bud development between spurs and unpruned shoots, given the difference in active terminal growth, might suggest that developmental resources are inherently more limiting in reproductive buds on spurs.

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Samuel Salazar-García, Elizabeth M. Lord, and Carol J. Lovatt

The developmental stage at which the shoot primary axis meristem (PAM) of the `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is committed to flowering was determined. Three-year-old trees were subjected to low-temperature (LT) treatments at 10/7 °C day/night with a 10-h photoperiod for 1 to 4 weeks followed by 25/20 °C day/night at the same photoperiod. Before LT treatment, apical buds of mature vegetative shoots consisted of a convex PAM with two lateral secondary axis inflorescence meristems lacking apical bracts each associated with an inflorescence bract. Apical buds did not change anatomically during LT treatment. However, the 3- and 4-week LT treatments resulted in inflorescences at 17% and 83% of apical buds, respectively. Trees receiving 2 weeks or less LT, including controls maintained at 25/20 °C, produced only vegetative shoots. Apical buds of 2-year-old trees receiving 3 weeks at 10/7 °C plus 1 week at 20/15 °C produced 100% inflorescences. GA3(100 mg·L-1) applied to buds 2 or 4 weeks after initiation of this LT treatment did not reduce the number of inflorescences that developed. `Hass' avocado apical buds were fully committed to flowering after 4 weeks of LT, but were not distinguishable anatomically from those that were not committed to flowering.

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Xingping Zhang, Bill Rhodes, Vance Baird, and Halina Skorupska

A spontaneous watermelon mutant, previously named branch less, was re-evaluated in this study. The mutant watermelon plants from genetic stock Bl-91 and derived from F2 and BC1 populations, did not produce tendrils under field or greenhouse conditions. The mutants stopped producing branches after the fifth or sixth node. Leaf shape changed during development of the mutants. Early leaves were normal, but later leaves had fewer and fewer lobes, finally becoming triangular toward the end of the shoot. The most distinct effect of the mutant gene was to convert vegetative meristems into floral meristems; tendrils and axillary buds were replaced by flowers at the node. The mutant plants were determinate. A grafting experiment showed that the rootstock had no effect on the mutant phenotype. Genetic analysis of F1, F2, and BC1 populations suggested that the mutant is inherited as a single, recessive nuclear gene. Based on the phenotype, a new name is suggested for this mutant: tendrilless, with a new gene symbol tl.

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Jonathan M. Frantz, Glen Ritchie, Nilton N. Cometti, Justin Robinson, and Bruce Bugbee

The productivity of lettuce in a combination of high light, high temperature, and elevated CO2 has not been commonly studied because rapid growth usually causes a calcium deficiency in meristems called tipburn, which greatly reduces quality and marketability. We eliminated tipburn by blowing air directly onto the meristem, which allowed us to increase the photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) to 1000 μmol·m-2·s-1 (57.6 mol·m-2·d-1); two to three times higher than normally used for lettuce. Eliminating tipburn doubled edible yield at the highest PPF level. In addition to high PPF, CO2 was elevated to 1200 μmol·m-2·mol-1, which increased the temperature optimum from 25 to 30 °C. The higher temperature increased leaf expansion rate, which improved radiation capture and more than doubled yield. Photosynthetic efficiency, measured as canopy quantum yield in a whole-plant gas exchange system, steadily increased up to the highest temperature of 32 °C in high CO2. The highest productivity was 19 g·m-2·d-1 of dry biomass (380 g·d-1 fresh mass) averaged over the 23 days the plants received light. Without the limitation of tipburn, the combination of high PPF, high temperature, and elevated CO2 resulted in a 4-fold increase in growth rate over productivity in conventional environments.

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J.W. White, H. Chen, X. Zhang, D.J. Beattie, and H. Grossman

Floral initiation and development of greenhouse and growth room-grown Aquilegia × hybrida Sims cultivars were studied using a scanning electron microscope. All greenhouse-grown cultivars initiated floral buds before cold treatment, ≈ 5 months after sowing. Floral initiation occurred at the apical meristem and proceeded acropetally on an elongated conical axis in the sequence: sepals, petals, stamens, stamenodia, and carpels. In a second experiment, 13 Aquilegia cultivars, three of which had been used in the first experiment, were grown as seedlings in a growth room at 20C under an 8-, 12-, 16-, or 20-hr photoperiod, each totaling 10.2 mol·day-1·m-2 irradiance from cool-white fluorescent lamps. Here, floral initiation was absent even after 7 months from sowing, presumably because there was no diurnal variation in irradiance or temperature.

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Roar Moe, John E Erwin, and Will Carlson

The role of irradiance and/or ethylene in inducing mortality and self-branching disorders in Gerbera jamesonii Bolus. seedlings was studied. Seedling mortality increased from 8% to 57% when seed was covered with vermiculite than left uncovered during germination. Supplemental lighting for 30 days after germination decreased seedling mortality and decreased the time to visible bud compared to seed germinated under natural light only. In subsequent experiments, seeds were germinated and then seedlings were water logged or sprayed with ethephon (0.69, 3.45, or 17.25 mM) at four different stages of seedling development. Half of the ethephon-treated seedlings were sprayed with silver thiosulfate (STS). Seedling mortality was greatest after cotyledon expansion but before expansion of the first tree leaf. The highest ethephon concentration caused reduced seedling dry weight after 42 days. Applying STS did not overcome self-branching or meristem necrosis.

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Les Frey, Yehoshua Saranga, and Jules Janick

Somatic embryogenesis was induced from internodal callus of `Scania', `Improved White Sim', and `Sandra' carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.). The optimum protocol for the induction of somatic embryogenesis included initiation of callus in liquid basal Murashige and Skoog medium supplemented with 3.0 μm 2,4-D followed by transfer to liquid basal medium lacking 2,4-D for embryo development. Somatic embryos originated from single cells and early embryonic development proceeded conventionally (i.e., via globular, heart-shaped, and torpedo stages), but clearly developed apical or root meristems were not always formed. A few embryos developed into seedlings and were acclimatized to ex vitro conditions. Chemical name used: 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D).

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Susan S. Han, Abraham H. Halevy, Roy M. Sachs, and Michael S. Reid

Flowering of brodiaea (Triteleia laxa syn. Brodiaea laxa `Queen Fabiola') did not have an obligate requirement for manipulation of temperature or photoperiod. Vernalization of corms reduced the greenhouse forcing phase but did not alter the number of flowers per inflorescence or scape length. Long photoperiods hastened flowering but decreased flower quality and flowering percentage. Scape length, which was not affected by photoperiod or mother corm size, was increased when plants were grown at night temperatures < 10C. Diameter of the apical meristem in the dormant corm, flowering percentage, and flower quality were not affected by a 10-fold increase in corm size above a critical weight (0.6 g). In contrast, the weight and number of daughter corms were closely correlated with mother corm size. The optimum planting depth for brodiaea corms was 10 cm below the soil surface.

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Carole H. Saravitz, Frank A. Blazich, and Henry V. Amerson

Hypocotyls of Fraser fir (Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.) were excised from seeds germination 9 days and placed on bud induction medium containing 10 mg/liter benzyladenine (BA) and 0.01 mg/liter naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) or medium without growth regulators. After 3 days on medium containing growth regulators, cell divisions were localized in epidermal and subepidermal layers of the hypocotyl while similar cell divisions were not observed in control-treated hypocotyls. Cell clusters consisting of two to five cells were present after 7 days in hypocotyls placed on bud induction medium. In control-treated hypocotyls, stomata continued to develop and cells within the cortex became vacuolated during the first 2 weeks in culture. All hypocotyls were transferred to secondary medium after 3 weeks. Cell clusters continued to enlarge into meristemoids in hypocotyls initially placed on bud induction medium. Gradually, meristemoids developed into buds and cataphylls were observed covering bud meristems.

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Shailaja Sinha and Madhuri Sharon

Somatic embryogenesis from apical meristem, cell elongation zone, and cell differentiation zone of roots of Punica granatum L. var. Ganesh was obtained. The basal medium used was Gamborg's B5. 2, 4-D induced white globular callus in root tip explants, which on further subculture to medium containing 0.5 mg/L BAP, produced somatic embryos from the outer surface of the callus. Direct somatic embryogenesis occurred from all the three zones of the root in presence of 2 mg/L kinetin. BAP induced embryogenic callus in elongation and cell differentiation zone segments of the roots, which, on further subculture onto the same medium, produced somatic embryos. NAA caused rhizogenesis in all the three root segments. Differentiation of somatic embryos into plantlets took place on B5 medium supplemented with 0.01 mg/L NAA + 0.5 mg/l BAP + 2 mg/L kinetin.