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Abraham H. Halevy, Eitan Shlomo, and Ofra Ziv

Experiments aiming to adapt the perennial balloon flower (Platycodon grandiflorus) as a commercial cut flower crop were conducted for 4 years under various growing conditions: four controlled-temperature rooms at two photoperiods in a phytotron, heated and unheated greenhouses, and a saran net-house (15% shade). Best flower yield was obtained following crown cooling for 12 weeks at 2 to 4 °C. Platycodon is a day-neutral plant, but produce more flowering stems under long days. Flower initiation and development is enhanced with increased growing temperature from 17/12 °C (day/night) to 27/22 °C. At very high temperatures (32/24 °C), however, only a few flowers are formed. Best quality stems were produced at 12 to 14 °C night temperature. At higher night temperatures, flowering stems were thin and weak. Gibberellin treatments to the crowns and the plants did not affect flowering time. Chemical name used: gibberellin (GA3).

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Caroline J. Poole, Audrey I. Gerber, and Gerard Jacobs

Brunia albiflora (Pillans) is harvested commercially in South Africa as a cut flower for export to European markets. To compete with European cut flowers high quality and continuity of product during the marketing period are essential. Optimizing the cut-flower potential of B. albiflora requires an understanding of the flowering process and selection of clonal material. We present a series of scanning electron micrographs which show three-dimensional images of the developmental stages of the shoot apex during the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive state. In B. albiflora the inflorescence consists of more than 15 individual rotund inflorescences arising from lateral positions on the terminal portion of the shoot. Development of the apical meristem of axillary shoots was studied to determine the time and sequence of inflorescence initiation and development. These observations identified that flower initiation occurs in October, followed by flower development through summer, with anthesis being reached from February to March.

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Theo J. Blom and Brian D. Piott

Four freesia cultivars were exposed to 24 hour·day-1 high-pressure sodium (HPS) lighting during various stages of their development. Upon emergence, freesia plants were exposed to the following four lighting treatments: 1) ambient; 2) ambient until shoot length was 5 to 8 cm followed by HPS lighting until flowering; 3) HPS lighting until shoot length was 5 to 8 cm followed by ambient lighting; and 4) continuous HPS lighting. Supplemental HPS lighting was provided at 37 μmol·m-2·s-1 at plant level in a glasshouse. Continuous lighting or lighting during flower development hastened flowering but reduced the number of flowering stems per corm, as well as stem length and weight. Lighting during the vegetative and flower initiation periods produced minor effects. The main benefit of supplemental lighting was found in total corm weight.

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Naza Sh. Azizbekova, Stefanie L. Butland, Brian E. Ellis, and Christia M. Roberts

The growth cycle of Scilla peruviana L. involved the development of two generations of daughter bulbs enclosed within each mother bulb. Flower initiation of the primary daughter bulb took place in June as the mother bulb apparently entered dormancy. Floral differentiation was complete by late October, by which time the apical meristem of the secondary daughter bulb had developed for 3 months inside the primary daughter bulb. The complete cycle of ontogenesis, from meristem initiation to flowering, occurred without interruption and required 20 months. Small zones of meristematic cells detected at the bases of bulb scales may be the origin of adventitious bulblets in this species. This detailed cytological study enabled the development of an effective commercial forcing program for S. peruviana.

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Melyssa K. Davis and Jeff S. Kuehny

Coreopsis and Gaillardia were exposed to supra-optimal temperatures of 35 °C for a 6-week period beginning at flower initiation. Photosynthesis measurements were recorded at 1100 hr, 1300 hr, and 1500 hr for 3 days each week and carbohydrate partitioning was determined once per week. Results indicate that the time of day the measurements were taken made little difference on rate of photosynthesis and that there was a similar trend in photosynthetic rate over the 6-week period. Photosynthesis decreased as the plants began to flower and then increased until the onset of flower senescence. The patterns of carbohydrate partitioning were similar to those observed for photosynthesis. The plants grown at supra-optimal and optimal conditions had a similar trend and rate of photosynthesis throughout the 6-week period. Plant growth and total carbohydrates significantly decreased as the duration of high temperature increased for both species, however Gaillardia was more heat tolerant than Coreopsis.

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Erik S. Runkle and Royal D. Heins

For many long-day plants (LDP), adding far red light (FR, 700 to 800 nm) to red light (R, 600 to 700 nm) to extend the day or interrupt the night promotes extension growth and flowering. Blue light (B, 400 to 500 nm) independently inhibits extension growth, but its effect on flowering is not well described. Here, we determined how R-, FR-, or B-deficient (Rd, FRd, or Bd, respectively) photoperiods influenced stem extension and flowering in five LDP species: Campanula carpatica Jacq., Coreopsi ×grandiflora Hogg ex Sweet, Lobelia ×speciosa Sweet, Pisum sativum L., and Viola ×wittrockiana Gams. Plants were exposed to Rd, FRd, Bd, or normal (control) 16-hour photoperiods, each of which had a similar photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photon flux. Compared with that of the control, the Rd environment promoted extension growth in C. carpatica (by 65%), C. ×grandiflora (by 26%), P. sativum (by 23%), and V. ×wittrockiana (by 31%). The FRd environment suppressed extension growth in C. ×grandiflora (by 21%), P. sativum (by 17%), and V. ×wittrockiana (by 14%). Independent of the R: FR ratio, the Bd environment promoted stem extension (by 10% to 100%) in all species, but there was little or no effect on flowering percentage and time to flower. Extension growth was generally linearly related to the incident wide band (100 nm) R: FR ratio or estimated phytochrome photoequilibrium except when B light was specifically reduced. A high R: FR ratio (i.e., under the FRd filter) delayed flower initiation (but not development) in C. carpatica and C.×grandiflora and inhibited flower development (but not initiation) in Vwittrockiana. Therefore, B light and the R: FR ratio independently regulate extension growth by varying magnitudes in LDP, and in some species, an FRd environment can suppress flower initiation or development.

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Philip A. Stack, Francis A. Drummond, and Lois Berg Stack

The application of supplemental blue light in greenhouse chrysanthemum production is part of a biological control strategy to enhance reproduction of Orius insidiosus Say, a natural predator of the western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis Pergande. Two greenhouse experiments were conducted to determine the influence of a blue light—supplemented long day on flowering and vegetative growth in three cultivars of the short-day plant Dendranthema ×grandiflora (Ramat.) Kitamura. In Expt. 1, two cut chrysanthemum cultivars (`Manatee Iceberg' and `Naples') were exposed to: a) 9-hour ambient light and 15-hour artificial blue-biased (400-500 nm) light at two blue light intensities (3.6 or 7.0 μmol·m-2·s-1); b) 9-hour ambient light and 15-hour artificial broad spectrum light at a broad spectrum intensity of 3.6 μmol·m-2·s-1; c) 9-hour ambient light maintained with black cloth; or d) an ambient short day. Under a continuous photoperiod, flower initiation in both cultivars in the lower intensity blue light was not significantly different from that in short-day regimes. However, in both blue light intensities, flower size and dry mass were significantly less than in the short-day regimes. Increasing the dose of blue light decreased flower dry mass in `Naples' by 60% and in `Manatee Iceberg' by 72%. Plants were shorter with less vegetative mass in the short-day regimes. In Expt. 2, `Naples' and the pot chrysanthemum `Boaldi' were exposed to a) 9-hour ambient light and 6-hour artificial blue-biased (400-500 nm) light at four blue light intensities (0.4, 0.7, 1.6, or 3.5 μmol·m-2·s-1); b) 9-h ambient light maintained with black cloth; or c) an ambient long day. For both cultivars, in all blue light regimes, neither flower dry mass nor vegetative dry mass differed significantly from those in the short-day regime. The results indicate that exposing D. grandiflora to a blue light—supplemented long day at blue light intensities <3.5 μmol·m-2·s-1 does not adversely affect flower initiation and development.

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Moritz Knoche and Martin J. Bukovac

Gibberellin A3 (GA) applied to virus-infected sour cherry (Prunus cerasus L., `Montmorency') trees inhibits flower initiation and promotes spur formation. However, response to a given dose may vary. Differential foliar absorption has been suggested as a major source of this variation. Therefore, we studied if surfactants would reduce variation in GA absorption. Uptake through the abaxial surface exceeded that through the adaxial surface by about one order of magnitude (adaxial surface 1.1 vs 7.8% in 1988, 0.7 vs 16.6% in 1989). GA uptake was markedly affected by surfactants. Over a 24-hr uptake period, Activator 90 and Ortho X-77 were most effective (abaxial surface 38.3 and 37.4% in 1989), whereas Regulaid did not affect GA uptake. L-77 significantly depressed absorption (abaxial surface 9.1% in 1989). In addition to the level of uptake, surfactants also changed GA absorption kinetics. Penetration increased linearly over a 96-hr time period when Regulaid was included. However, with Ortho X-77, uptake was rapid initially but levelled off within 96 hr. These findings will be discussed in relation to biological response data obtained in the field experiments.

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Gary J. Keever and William J. Foster

`Redwings' and `Gloria' azaleas (Rhododendron × `Redwings' and `Gloria') were treated with foliar sprays of uniconazole, paclobutrazol, or daminozide to suppress bypass shoot development and promote flower initiation and development. Uniconazole at 5 and 25 mg·liter-1 suppressed bypass shoot development of `Redwings' and `Gloria', respectively. Flowering of `Gloria', but not `Redwings', was delayed slightly with uniconazole sprays up to 25 mg·liter-1 ; with the highest uniconazole concentration, 200 mg·liter-1, flowering was delayed as much as 18 days. Flower count of `Gloria' was not affected by lower concentrations of uniconazole, but it was greatly reduced in both cultivars with concentrations above 75 mg·liter-1. Uniconazole was more active than paclobutrazol sprays of similar concentrations or than two daminozide sprays of 3000 mg·liter–1 . Chemical names used: (E)-1-(p-chlorophenyl)-4,4-dimethyl-2-(1,2,4-triazol-1-yl)-1-penten-3-ol (uniconazole); (2RS,3RS)-1-(4-chlorophenyl)-2-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-(1H-1,2,4,-triazol-l-yl-)pentan-3-ol (paclobutrazol); butanedioic acid mono(2,2-dimethylhydrazide (daminozide),

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Erik S. Runkle, Royal D. Heins, Arthur C. Cameron, and William H. Carlson

Twenty-four herbaceous perennial species were treated at 5C for 0 or 15 weeks. Critical photoperiods for flower initiation and development with and without a cold treatment were determined. Photoperiods were 10, 12, 14, 16, and 24 h of continuous light and 9 h plus a 4-h night interruption. Continuous photoperiodic treatments consisted of 9-h natural days extended with light from incandescent lamps. Response to cold and photoperiod varied by species; Scabiosa caucasica `Butterfly Blue' flowered without a cold treatment under all photoperiods after 8 to 10 weeks of forcing, but plant height increased from 14 to 62 cm as daylength increased. Rudbeckia fulgida `Goldsturm' flowered without cold after 13 to 15 weeks of forcing, but only under 16 hours of continuous light and night interruption treatments. Heuchera sanguinea `Bressingham Hybrids' did not flower without cold under any photoperiod but did flower under all photoperiods with cold. The only Lavendula angustifolia `Munstead Dwarf' plants that flowered without cold were those under 24-h continuous light; ≈60% flowered. After cold, some lavender plants flowered under all photoperiods, and the flowering percentage increased with increasing daylength.