Flower color results from the interaction of a pigment (anthocyanin) with a co-pigment (usually a flavonone or flavonol) at a specific pH. At more alkaline pHs (pH 5 to 6), an anthocyanin/co-pigment complex is blue; while at more acidic pHs (pH 3-4), the same anthocyanin/copigment complex is red. In Phalaenopsis pulcherrima, a mutation in pH resulted in a bluer flower color. The difference in pH between the normal-colored magenta flowers (pH 5.8) and mutant violet flowers (pH 5.5) was due to a single co-dominantly inherited gene.
Robert J. Griesbach
Kathleen M. Kelley, Bridget K. Behe, John A. Biernbaum, and Kenneth L. Poff
Two surveys were conducted to determine characteristics important in containerized edible flowers that could be sold in retail outlets. Self-selected participants at Bloomfest at Cobo Hall, Detroit, were assigned to one group that rated the importance of attributes such as color of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. `Accord Banner Clear Mixture'), color combinations, container size, and price. Participants assigned to a second group rated color, color combinations, and container size. Flower color was allocated the most points in the purchasing decision (63% for the first group and 95% for the second), with a mixture of all three colors (blue, yellow, and orange) being the most desirable. Responses were subjected to Cluster Analysis (SPSS Inc., Chicago), which resulted in the formation of three distinct groups. The groups were labeled “Likely Buyer” (those who had eaten and purchased edible flowers before and rated characteristics of edible flowers favorably); “Unlikely Consumer” (those who had eaten edible flowers before and had rated characteristics of edible flowers unfavorably); and “Persuadable Garnishers” (those who had not eaten edible flowers before, but were very likely to purchase edible flowers for a meal's garnish).
Rosanna Freyre and Robert J. Griesbach
Plants of Anagallis monelli in their native habitat or in cultivation have either blue or orange flowers. Clonally propagated cultivars, seed obtained from commercial sources and the resulting plants were grown in a greenhouse at the University of New Hampshire. F2 progeny obtained from hybridization between blue- and orange-flowered plants had blue, orange or red flowers. There were no significant differences in petal pH of orange-, blue-, and red-flowered plants that could explain the differences in flower color. Anthocyanidins were characterized by high-performance liquid chromatography. Results indicated that blue color was due to malvidin, orange to pelargonidin, and red to delphinidin. Based on our segregation data, we propose a three-gene model to explain flower color inheritance in this species.
Bridget Behe, Robert Nelson, Susan Barton, Charles Hall, Charles D. Safley, and Steven Turner
Researchers often investigate consumer preferences by examining variables consecutively, rather than simultaneously. Conjoint analysis facilitates simultaneous investigation of multiple variables. Cluster analysis facilitates development of actionable market segments. Our objective was to identify relative importance and consumer preferences for flower color, leaf variegation, and price of geraniums (Pelargonium ×hortorum L.H. Bail.) and to identify several actionable market segments. We also evaluated the desirability of a hypothetical blue geranium. Photographic images were digitized and manipulated to produce plants similar in flower area, but varying in flower color (red, lavender, pink, white, and blue), leaf variegation (plain green, dark green zone, and white zone), and price ($1.39 to $2.79). Conjoint analysis revealed that flower color was the primary consideration in the purchase decision, followed by leaf variegation and price. A cluster analysis that excluded blue geraniums yielded four actionable consumer segments. When preferences for the blue geranium were included, six consumer segments were identified.
Kathleen M. Kelley, Bridget K. Behe, John A. Biernbaum, and Kenneth L. Poff
Two identical surveys were conducted with separate samples to determine consumer perceptions of the quality of five edible flower species. Participants were either members of a class that reviewed the history and uses of edible flowers at an annual, 1-day event (Garden Days) or Michigan Master Gardeners who attended a similar class. Participants were shown a randomized series of projected photographic slides of five edible flower species and asked to indicate whether they found the flower quality acceptable. The slides depicted a range of ratings of mechanical damage, insect damage, or flower senescence on a Likert reference scale (1 through 5) developed by the researchers. A flower rated 5 was flawless, while a flower rated 1 had substantial damage. Nearly one-half of all participants had eaten edible flowers before the study, and 57% to 59% had grown them for their own consumption, indicating many individuals had previous experience. Both samples rated flower quality equally and found pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana `Accord Banner Clear Mixture'), tuberous begonia (Begonia ×tuberhybrida `Ornament Pink'), and viola (Viola tricolor `Helen Mount') acceptable from stage 5 to 3. Both groups found the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus `Jewel Mix') flowers acceptable at only rating 5. Garden Days participants rated borage (Borago officinalis) acceptable from ratings 5 to 3, while the Master Gardeners rated their acceptability from only 5 to 4. Participants also rated flower color (yellow, orange, and blue) as equally acceptable.
Rebeccah A. Waterworth and Robert J. Griesbach
Recently, several new Calibrachoa La Llave & Lexarza (Solanaceae Juss.) cultivars have been developed with novel red and blue flowers. Most wild species of Calibrachoa have purple flowers. The differences in color were not due to anthocyanin composition, but rather to vacuolar pH. The pH of the red-flowered cultivar was 4.8 while that of the blue-flowered cultivar was 5.6. The wild purple-flowered species had an intermediate pH of 5.0. These data suggest that different pH and pigment genes may be introgressed into other Calibrachoa species to increase cultivar diversity.
S. S. Ashtakala and A. M. Schwartz
Extracts from flowers of 5 Cineraria cultivars contained 4 major phenolic compounds: 2 anthocyanidins (cyanidin and delphinidin), the flavone apigenin2, and caffeic acid. The flavone and the phenolic acid were present in all cultivars. The color variations among the cultivars is apparently caused by variations in the relative concn of the 2 anthocyanidins. The presence of delphinidin is of particular interest because of its rare occurrence in Compositae.
The environment can affect the intensity of flower color in Eustoma grandiflorum. Low light and alkaline pH within the growing cell can lead to reduced color intensity. Two independent causes are responsible for the decrease in the intensity of flower color. 1) Older flowers were more alkaline than freshly opened flowers. A 7% increase in pH was related with a 10% reduction in color intensity. 2) Flowers that open under low light were paler than those opening under high light intensity. A 25% decrease in light intensity was related to a 30% reduction in the concentration of anthocyanin and a 40% reduction in color intensity.
K.M. Kelley, B.K. Behe, J.A. Biernbaum, and K.L. Poff
Two surveys were conducted to determine the importance of characteristics of containers of edible flower which could be sold to consumers in retail outlets. Self-selected participants at Bloomfest at Cobo Hall in Detroit, Mich., were assigned to one group that rated the importance of attributes such as edible flower color of Viola × wittrockiana `Accord Banner Clear Mixture', color combinations, container size, and price of the container. Participants assigned to a second group rated color, color combinations, and size. Flower color was allocated the most points in the purchasing decision (63% for the first group and 95% for the second group), with a mixture of all three colors (blue, yellow, and orange), proving to be the most desirable. Responses were subjected to Conjoint Analysis (SPSS Inc., Chicago), which resulted in the formation of three groups of customer segmentation. The groups were labeled “Likely Buyer” who had eaten and purchased edible flowers before and rated characteristics of edible flowers favorably; “Unlikely Consumer” who had eaten edible flowers before and had rated characteristics of edible flowers unfavorably; and “Persuadable Garnishers” who had not eaten edible flowers before, but were very likely to purchase edible flowers for a garnish for a meal.
Chiwon W. Lee
Velvet flower (Salpiglossis sinuata, Solanaceae) can be used as an excellent demonstration plant for horticultural crop breeding classes. Salpiglossis produces large trumpetlike flowers exhibiting an assortment of corolla colors and pigmentation patterns. The pistil is large (3 to 4 cm or 1.2 to 1.6 inches long) with a sticky stigmatal tip and flowers can be easily emasculated prior to anthesis. The large pollen grains are shed in tetrads which can be separated and placed on the stigmatal surface. It takes eight to nine weeks from seeding to blooming, with a prolific flowering cycle that comes in flushes. Numerous seeds (about 750 per capsule) are obtained in three weeks after self- or cross-pollination. The influences of three genes that control flower color and pigmentation pattern can be conveniently demonstrated with their dominant and recessive alleles. The R gene controls flower color with red (RR or Rr) being dominant over yellow (rr). The D gene controls the density of pigmentation with solid (DD or Dd) color being dominant over dilute (dd) color. Corolla color striping is controlled by the St gene with striped (stst) being recessive to nonstriped (StSt or Stst) pattern. By using diploid lines of genotypes RRDD (red, solid), RRdd (red, dilute), or rrdd (yellow, dilute) and their crosses, students can easily observe a dominant phenotypic expression in the F1 hybrid and the digenic 9:3:3:1 segregation ratio in the F2 progeny. Another gene (C) that controls flower opening can also be used to show its influence on cleistogamous (closed, selfpollinated, CC or Cc) versus normal chasmogamous (open-pollinated, cc) corolla development. In addition, the induction and use of polyploid (4x) plants in plant breeding can also be demonstrated using this species.