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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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R.J. Griesbach

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.

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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.

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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.

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Mark J. Bassett

The effects of gri on seed coat and flower color were investigated in a study using Lamprecht line V0400 (PI 527735) as the known source of gri. Seed and flower color data were taken on observations of F2, BC1-F2, and BC2,-F2 populations from crosses of V0400 with the recurrent parent S-593. Segregation was observed for a unique flower color pattern: wing petals have a very pale tinge of blue (laelia), and the banner petal has two violet dots (≈3- to 4-mm diameter) on a nearly white background. This very pale laelia flower color cosegregates with gray-white seed coats produced by gri. Furthermore, the very pale laelia color depends on the action of V for expression and is extinguished by v, which produces pure white flowers. Thus, it was demonstrated that the very pale laelia flower color, for which Lamprecht tentatively proposed the gene symbol vpal, is not controlled by an allele at V but is a pleiotropic effect of gri. It was also demonstrated that Lamprecht line V0060 (PI 527717) carries vlae, not v, as indicated by the genotypic notes accompanying the Lamprecht seed collection.

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Young-Seok Kwon and Fenny Dane

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus Thumb. Matsum. and Nakai) flower petals usually are yellow, but in watermelon line Kw-695, light-green flowers were detected. To study the inheritance of light-green flower color, Kw-695 plants were crossed with yellow-flowered Korean cultures `SS-4' and `Dalgona'. The resulting F1, F2, and reciprocal backcross generations were analyzed for flower color. Segregation ratios in the F2 and backcross to Kw-695 were 3 yellow: 1 light green and 1 yellow: 1 light green, respectively. Backcross generations to the yellow-flowered parents showed yellow flowers only. These results indicate that inheritance of the light-green flower character in Kw-695 is governed by a single recessive gene. We propose the gf gene symbol for the green flower trait. Kw-695 plants have large vines with large, light-green leaves. The plants are andromonoecious, have large, oval, bright yellow-green fruit with irregular dark-green stripes, bright yellow-orange, inedible flesh with very low sugar content (about 3.2 °Brix), and light-yellow seeds. The trait should be useful as a marker in watermelon breeding programs. Linkages between this trait and other genetic markers in watermelon will be investigated.

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Andrea Quintana, Jana Albrechtova, Tom Davis, Robert J. Griesbach, and Rosanna Freyre

Wild Anagallis monelli has blue or orange flowers. Hybrids with red flowers were developed at the Univ. of New Hampshire. Orange is due to pelargonidin, but delphinidin and malvidin can also be present; red is due to delphinidin and malvidin; and blue is due to malvidin only. In this study, blue and orange wild diploid accessions were used to develop four F2 populations (n = 46 to 81). In three populations, segregation ratios supported a previously proposed three-gene model for flower color in this species (P> 0.01). In the fourth population, white flower color was obtained in addition to blue, orange, and red. Molecular studies of genes in the anthocyanin pathway using a candidate gene approach are in progress. In a separate F2 population, blue, violet, lilac, and red flower colors were obtained. One hybrid per color was studied on three replicate plants. Cells with vacuoles containing anthocyanins in upper and lower petal epidermis peels were counted in five flowers per clone using light microscopy (M = 200×). Blue and red hybrids had mostly blue and red cells, respectively, on both surfaces. Lilac and violet hybrids included cells that were blue and intermediate (containing both red and blue) on both surfaces, and also had red cells on the lower epidermis only. Violet hybrids had more blue cells on the upper epidermis than the lilac hybrids. Anthocyanins were determined by HPLC for each petal epidermis in the four flower colors. The blue hybrid had only malvidin in both upper and lower epidermis, and the red hybrid had mainly delphinidin in both surfaces. Lilac and violet hybrids had small amounts (2% and 2.5%, respectively) of delphinidin on upper surfaces, while lower surfaces had 25% to 33% delphinidin.