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C. Richer-Leclerc and J.-A. Rioux

The “Réseau d'essais des plantes ligneuses ornementales du Québec” (REPLOQ) is a research project initiated in 1982 with the mandate to elaborate, develop, and coordinate a cooperative research project to evaluate the winter hardiness of ornamental plants. Systematic evaluation trials provided information on growth potential and hardiness of woody trees and shrubs evaluated over a 5-year period in the principal growing regions of Québec. Zonal range covered was 2 to 5b in the Canadian system. Adequate field testing is critical for new introductions and, since 1984, more than 400 species and cultivars have been introduced and eight evaluated in each climatic zone. Propagation methods, as well as their potential for ornamental purpose, were described. In the 1984 plantation, 30 ornamental species and cultivars were evaluated. Winter damage data observed on each plant during this period were analyzed by Clusters analysis and five groups of plants were determined. Trees, flowering shrubs, and foliage shrubs were discussed separately and winter damages of each group were submitted to “Correspondence analyses” to identify plant response to climatic conditions. Growth and production potentials were defined by SAS analysis. Hardiness zone of each species was detailed, established, or modified.

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Elsa Sanchez and Richard Craig

The Plant Systematics course at Penn State University was reformatted in 1995 based on a three-dimensional model. It now includes several collaborative learning activities: a learning fair hosted by the enrolled students for elementary school students; applied laboratory exercises; and applied laboratory examinations. Each activity has a specific objective and was constructed to strengthen teaching effectiveness and to aid students in developing useful skills for future employment. A survey was administered to students enrolled in the course from 2003 through 2005 in part to assess the collaborative learning activities. Most students “strongly agreed” or “agreed” that they liked working in collaborative groups and learned from other group members. Students preferred working in groups for laboratory examinations more than for the Asteraceae Fair and learned more from their peers while completing the laboratory exercises than in laboratory examinations. Student participation in the lecture portion of the course increased as collaborative learning activities were completed. Camaraderie with peers through group work may have created an atmosphere conducive to participation and/or involvement during lectures. Organization and planning were vital to the success of these activities, as were using small groups and providing adequate incentives for completing activities. These activities engaged students to become active participants in the teaching and learning process.

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Timothy J. Smalley and Frank B. Flanders

The Industry Liaison Committee of the American Society for Horticultural Science conducted a survey of the horticulture industry to systematically determine: 1) industry's perception of university training of recent graduates and 2) industry's perception of educational needs for future graduates. A Delphi survey was sent to experts in the fruit, ornamental, greenhouse, turf, and vegetable industry. The respondents expressed dissatisfaction with the level of competence of recent university graduates in personnel management and marketing. The lack of hands-on training in university courses was viewed as a major problem, but the respondents agreed that internships should provide university students with the necessary practical experience and universities should concentrate on the science of horticulture. The respondents indicated that business management and marketing expertise will be more important in the future than knowledge of production techniques; however, they would not be more likely to hire a business major instead of a horticulture major. The following areas of study were ranked for relative importance to be included in the university curriculum (from most important to least): communication skills, horticultural technology, business management, personnel management, plant nutrition and soil fertility, pest control, plant physiology, environmental awareness, plant physiology, plant pathology, accounting, and equipment use and maintenance. A second round of questioning for this Delphi survey is being conducted and results will be presented to verify preliminary results.

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Sandra B. Wilson, Robert L. Geneve, and Fred T. Davies

Interactive web-based questions were developed for students to review subject matter learned in an online plant propagation course. Articulate Storyline software was used to build nearly 250 review questions with five different testing styles to ascertain proficiency in subject areas, including the biology of propagation, the propagation environment, seed propagation, vegetative propagation, micropropagation, and cell culture. Questions were arranged to correspond to the supporting textbook chapters in Hartmann and Kester’s Plant propagation: Principles and practices, ninth edition. These are open access and available to instructors and students worldwide. Users received immediate feedback for each question answered correctly or incorrectly. The system remembers where one leaves off, which enables starting and stopping multiple times within a chapter. Means of pre- and posttest responses to nine content knowledge items showed that students perceived a significant content knowledge gain in the course. These online interactive reviews can be adapted easily to other courses in a variety of fields, including horticulture, botany, systematics, and biology. They can also be expanded to overlay multiple objects and trigger events based on user response. Since inception, the website hosting these online reviews averaged 156 unique visitors per month. Students have reported this to be a useful tool to prepare them for course exams.

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M.H. Maletta, W.P. Cowgill Jr., T. Manning, W. Tietjen, S.A. Johnston, and P. Nitzsche

Weather information has many applications in crop production practices, including disease forecasting. A variety of weather instruments are available for on-farm use, but associated costs and need for regular calibration and maintenance can limit actual use, especially by smaller growers. Subscription to an electronic meteorological service may be a viable alternative to on-site weather stations. In 1997 and 1998, hourly temperature, relative humidity and leaf wetness were monitored at six sites in a 400-m2 area of New Jersey with Field Monitor™ data loggers (Sensor Instruments, Inc.) and by subscription to SkyBit, Inc., an electronic meteorological service. There was close correspondence in temperature data from the two sources at all sites, the average seasonal difference ranging from 0 to 2 °F. Relative humidity data was variable between the two sources, the greatest variation occurring at low and high humidity, the ranges at which relative humidity sensors had been shown to be least accurate. Leaf wetness estimates from the two sources agreed at least two-thirds of the time. Data differences related to source were attributed to both systematic and random error. The usefulness of electronic weather data in crop production depends on how sensitive the particular weather-dependent applications (e.g., predictive disease and insect models) are to variation in the input data. The TOM-CAST early blight forecaster for tomatoes was not particularly sensitive to differences between SkyBit and Field Monitor leaf wetness estimates.

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Kelly T. Morgan, T.A. Obreza, and J.M.S. Scholberg

Understanding the growth pattern of fibrous, orange tree [Citrus sinensis (L.) Osbeck] roots enables proper fertilizer placement to improve nutrient uptake efficiency and to reduce nutrient leaching below the root zone. The objective of this study was to develop relationships defining citrus fibrous root length density (FRLD) as a function of soil depth, distance from the tree trunk, and tree size. Root systems of 18 trees with tree canopy volumes (TCV) ranging from 2.4 to 34.3 m3 on two different rootstocks and growing in well-drained sandy soils were sampled in a systematic pattern extending 2 m away from the trunk and 0.9 m deep. Trees grown on Swingle citrumelo [Citrus paradisi Macf. × Poncirus trjfoliata (L.) Raf.] rootstock had significantly greater FRLD in the top 0.15 m than trees on Carrizo citrange (C. sinensis × P. trifoliata). Conversely, Carrizo citrange had greater FRLD from 0.15 to 0.75 m below the soil surface. FRLD was significantly greater for ‘Hamlin’ orange trees grown on Swingle citrumelo rootstock at distances less than 0.75 m from the tree trunk compared with those on Carrizo citrange. Fibrous roots of young citrus trees developed a dense root mat above soil depths of 0.3 m that expanded both radially and with depth with time as trees grow and TCV increased. Functional relationships developed in this study accounted for changes in FRLD with increase in tree size.

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J.B. Magee, B.J. Smith, and Agnes Rimando

Control of muscadine diseases is necessary to minimize yield loss and is especially important for highest quality fresh-market berries. In a systematic disease control spray program, four fungicides registered for grapes were applied sequentially at 10- to 20-day intervals from early bloom until just before harvest to five muscadine cultivars. Objectives of the study were to: 1) determine the effects of the spray schedule on foliage and berry diseases; and 2) study the relationship between disease incidence and resveratrol content of the berries. Resveratrol, a phytoalexin, has shown potential value in prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease and certain cancer processes. Foliar diseases were rated visually twice during the season. Berry disease ratings were made at harvest. All fungal foliage and berry diseases were significantly reduced by fungicide treatments. Resveratrol was determined separately on berry skins, seed and pulp/juice by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). Overall, resveratrol levels in berry skins from unsprayed vines were much higher than those of sprayed vines. Concentrations varied by cultivar and within cultivar by treatment. The relationship between resveratrol concentration in skins and total disease score or scores of specific diseases was not established. Seed resveratrol concentrations differed by cultivar but were not affected by the fungicide treatments. Resveratrol concentration of seed was lower than that of skins. Accumulation of resveratrol in juice/pulp was much lower than in skins and seeds.

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ZhaoSen Xie, Charles F. Forney, WenPing Xu, and ShiPing Wang

In this study, the ultrastructure of phloem and its surrounding parenchyma cells in the developing grape berry produced under root restriction or without (control) was for the first time systematically investigated through transmission electron microscopy during the entire developmental process of the berry. The results showed that root restriction increased the number of plasmodesmata between sieve elements (SE) and companion cells (CC) and between the SE/CC complex and phloem parenchyma cells. Sieve elements in fruit produced under root restriction were smaller in size than those from the control treatment, but CC were bigger than in the control treatment. During the first rapid growth phase of the grape berry, there was denser cytoplasm in the CC produced under root restriction having more abundant mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, multivesicular bodies, vesicles, and plastids than in control fruit. During the second rapid growth phase of the grape berry, CC under root restriction showed more serious plasmolysis. Cytoplasmic contents such as vesicles were fused into the vacuole of which the tonoplast nearly disappeared in the phloem parenchyma cells, and cytoplasmic contents in fruit cells produced under root restriction became denser than the control treatment. These results demonstrated that grape berry adapted to the root restriction stress through ultrastructure variation of the phloem, and this variation explained the increase of photosynthate accumulation in the grape berry observed under root restriction.

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G.E. Jones and B.M. Cregg

Conifers represent a sizeable portion of nursery and landscape sales in the upper midwestern U.S. Several conifer species have been overplanted to the point where disease problems and insect pressures have developed. Although more than 40 true fir (Abies Mill.) exist throughout the northern hemisphere, use of firs in the landscape and Christmas tree industry has been limited to relatively few species. This is largely due to perceived intolerance of many site conditions. However, recent research suggests Abies are more tolerant of varying site conditions than originally thought. Successful introduction of new exotic fir species for landscape use will require a systematic approach to identify species that are adapted to environmental stresses. In this article we review the extent and nature of inter-specific variation among Abies species in traits commonly associated with tolerance of stresses found in the upper midwestern U.S. Specifically, we focus on cold hardiness, budbreak, photosynthetic gas exchange and water relations, and response to soil pH. It is important to match plants possessing necessary adaptive characteristics with the existing site conditions. Therefore, multiple screening factors should be met when identifying species or trees from different provenances for future introduction.

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Marissa Moses and Pathmanathan Umaharan

Capsicum chinense is commercially the most important pepper species grown in the Caribbean. It is popularly used to impart pungency and flavor to Caribbean cuisine. However, unlike Capsicum annuum, which is the most commercially exploited domesticated species internationally, C. chinense has not been methodically collected or characterized for systematic improvement through plant breeding. The objectives of the study were to assess the diversity of C. chinense and its structure within the Caribbean basin and to determine its phylogenetic relationship to groups within South America. DNA isolated from 201 accessions of C. chinense, representing geographical regions where the species is found, were amplified using arbitrary primers to generate 138 polymorphic and reproducible random amplification of polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers. Nei’s and Shannon’s diversity indices for C. chinense (0.28 and 0.419, respectively) were higher in South America compared with Central America or the Caribbean, corresponding to its putative center of diversity. The study showed the existence of three phylogenetic clusters within C. chinense. The largest cluster consisted of accessions from the Upper Amazon region, the Guianas including Venezuela, and the Lesser Antilles of the Caribbean. The other major cluster was represented by accessions principally from the Lower Amazon region. Another distinct but small cluster consisted of samples solely from the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean. The discovery of the three phylogenetic clusters within C. chinense may have potential for exploiting heterosis in breeding. The implications of the findings to the understanding of the phylogenetic origin and distribution of C. chinense are discussed.