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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

Light (radiant energy) and temperature (thermal energy) affect quality of greenhouse crops. Radiant energy drives photosynthesis and, consequently, plant biomass accumulation. Thermal energy is the primary environmental factor driving developmental rate. The concept of a photothermal ratio (PTR), the ratio of radiant energy [moles of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons/m2] to thermal energy (degree-day), was proposed to describe the balance between plant growth and plant development in greenhouse crops. The objective of this study was to quantify the effect of PTR during vegetative (PTRv) or reproductive (PTRr) phases on finished plant quality of `Freedom' poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex Klotzsch). In Expt. 1, plants were grown under 27 combinations of three constant temperatures (19, 23, or 27 °C), three daily light integrals (DLIs) as measured by the number of photosynthetic (400 to 700 nm) photons (5, 10, or 20 mol·m-2·d-1), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm) from pinch to the start of short-day flower induction, and then moved to a common PTR until anthesis. In Expt. 2, plants were grown under a common PTR during the vegetative stage and then moved to combinations of three DLIs (5, 10, or 15 mol·m-2·d-1) and three plant spacings (25 × 25, 30 × 30, or 35 × 35 cm) at a constant 20 °C from the start of short days until anthesis. Both PTRr and PTRv affected final plant dry weight (DW). All components of DW (total, stem, leaf, and bract) increased linearly as PTRr increased, and responded quadratically to PTRv, reaching a maximum when PTRv was 0.04 mol/degree-day per plant. Stem strength depended more on PTRv than PTRr. When PTRv increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, stem diameter increased ≈24%, while stem strength increased 75%. The size of bracts and cyathia increased linearly as PTRr increased, but was unaffected by PTRv. When PTRr increased from 0.02 to 0.06 mol/degree-day per plant, bract area, inflorescence diameter, and cyathia diameter increased 45%, 23%, and 44%, respectively.

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Hiroshi Shimizu and Royal D. Heins

A computer vision system for noncontact growth analysis was developed. Front and side images of a plant were captured simultaneously using a mirror system and CCD camera and were magnetically stored on a magneto-optical disk. Images acquired at night were obtained by irradiating plants with incandescent light filtered to wavelengths of 850 nm and greater. Images were automatically captured and saved every 12 minutes. After images were collected, outlines of plant shape were extracted from stored images, a three-dimensional center line of the plant was extracted from the outline, and the elongation rate was computed. The outline extraction algorithm was modified to improve spatial resolution of images, and the thinning algorithm created a representative line of the plant by calculating a center line of the stem so the three-dimensional length could be calculated. Results of growth analysis on Verbena bonariensis L. plants grown under three photoperiods (8, 12, and 16 hours) and three day/night air-temperature combinations (15/25, 20/20, and 25/15) will be presented.

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Bin Liu and Royal D. Heins

The objectives of this study were to quantify the effects of the radiant-to-thermal energy ratio (RRT) on poinsettia plant growth and development during the vegetative stage and develop a simple, mechanistic model for poinsettia quality control. Based on greenhouse experiments conducted with 27 treatment combinations; i.e., factorial combinations of three levels of constant temperature (19, 23, or 27°C), three levels of daily light integral (5, 10, or 20 mol/m2 per day), and three plant spacings (15 × 15, 22 × 22, or 30 × 30 cm), from pinch to the onset of short-day flower induction, the relationship between plant growth/development and light/temperature has been established. A model for poinsettia quality control was constructed using the computer software program STELLA II. The t-test shows that there were no significant differences between model predictions and actual observations for all considered plant characteristics; i.e., total, leaf and stem dry weight, leaf unfolding number, leaf area index, and leaf area. The simulation results confirm that RRT is an important parameter to describe potential plant quality in floral crop production.

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Robert D. Berghage and Royal D. Heins

Elongation characteristics of each internode on a lateral shoot of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Klotz) `Annette Hegg Dark Red' were determined from pinching through anthesis for plants grown with 36 day/night temperature (DT/NT) combinations between 16 and 30C. The Richards function was used to describe the elongation of each internode. The first internode developing on a lateral shoot was longer and matured faster than subsequent internodes. The length of the first internode was a function of the difference between day and night temperatures (DIF = DT - NT). Subsequent internodes elongated uniformly in the absence of flower initiation. In the absence of flower initiation, the length of an internode, after the first, was a function of DIF. Internodes were shorter as proximity to the inflorescence increased. Internode length after the start of short days was a function of DIF and the visible bud index where visible bud index = [(days from pinching to the day an internode began to elongate - days from pinching to the day of the start of flower initiation)/the number of days from pinching to visible bud]. A poinsettia lateral shoot elongation model was developed based on the derived functions for internode elongation. The model predicted lateral shoot length within one standard deviation of the mean for plants grown in a separate validation study with 16 combinations of DT/NT. The model allows the prediction of lateral shoot length on any day from pinching through anthesis based on temperature, the number of nodes on the lateral shoot, the time each internode on the lateral shoot began elongating, and the visible bud index at the start of elongation of each node.

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Jens J. Brondum and Royal D. Heins

Dahlia “Royal Dahlietta Yellow” plants were grown in controlled temperature chambers under 25 different day and night temperature environments ranging from 10°C to 30°C. The day length was 12 hours with an average PPF level of 300 micromolm-2 s-1 at canopy level. Leaf unfolding rate, shoot elongation and flower development rate were determined and models developed. Leaf unfolding rate increased as temperature increased up to 25°C. Stem elongation increased as the difference between day and night temperature increased. Flower initiation was delayed at high (30°C) temperature and flower development rate increased as temperature increased from 10°C to 25°C. Plants are currently being grown under greenhouse conditions to provide data for validating the models.

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James E. Brown-Faust and Royal D. Heins

Saintpaulia ionantha `Utah' plants were grown in growth chambers at constant 15, 20, 25, and 30°C temperatures and daily photosynthetic irradiances of 1, 4, 7, and 10 mol1 m-2 day-1 delivered by 23, 92, 161, and 230 μmol m-2 s-1 for 12 hours. Models were developed describing leaf unfolding rate (LUR) and flower development rate (FDR) as a function of temperature and irradiance by recording the dates of leaf unfolding and flower opening over the course of the experiment and then calculating rates using regression. Both LUR and FDR increased as temperature increased from 15 to 25°C and then decreased. Both LUR and FDR increased as irradiance increased from 1 to 4 mol m-2 day-1. Increasing daily irradiance above 4 mol m-2 da y-1 did not significantly increase LUR or FDR. Model validation data are being collected from plants growing under 3 irradiance levels in greenhouses maintained at 15, 20, 25, and 30°C air temperatures.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effects of temperature and irradiance on flower initiation and development were quantified to provide a basis for an inflorescence development model. The percentage of leaf axils forming an inflorescence increased as the daily integrated PPF increased from 1 to 4 mol m-2 d-1, while the rate of inflorescence development was a linear function of temperature from 18 to 26C. The appearance of a visible flower bud in the leaf axil was correlated with leaf blade length of the subtending leaf. Mathematical functions were used to describe leaf blade length at the time of visible flower bud as a function of temperature and irradiance, and also to describe the influence of temperature on the rate of leaf extension. The time of visible flower bud in the leaf axil was then predicted by measuring the current length of the subtending leaf blade and estimating the time required for the leaf blade to extend to the length required for visible flower bud appearance. A phasic development scale was used to describe the developmental status of an inflorescence from visible flower bud to anthesis. A model was then created which predicted time to anthesis based upon temperature and the current stage of inflorescence development.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

Leaf unfolding rate (LUR) was determined for `Utah' African violet plants grown in growth chambers under 20 combinations of temperature and photosynthetic photon flus (PPF). A nonlinear model was used to predict LUR as a function of shoot temperature and daily integrated PPF. The maximum predicted LUR was 0.27 leaves/day, which occurred at 25C and a daily integrated PPF of 10 mol/m2 per day. The optimum temperature for leaf unfolding decreased to 23C, and the maximum rate decreased to 0.18 leaves/day as the daily integrated PPF decreased from 10 to 1 mol/m2 per day. A greenhouse experiment using 12 combinations of air temperature and daily integrated PPF was conducted to validate the LUR model. Plant temperatures used in the model predicted leaf development more accurately than did air temperatures, but using average hourly temperature data was no more accurate than using average daily temperature data.

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Meriam G. Karlsson and Royal D. Heins

The relative progression of lateral shoot elongation from pinch to flower of chrysanthemum [Dendranthema grandiflora (Ramat.) Kitamura `Bright Golden Anne'] plants grown under 2 to 22 mol·day-1·m-2 photosynthetic photon flux and 10 to 20C was modeled using Richards function. Parameters for the function were determined by first transforming data of shoot length and time from pinch (start of short photoperiods) to flower to a relative scale of 0.0 to 1.0 by dividing all intermediate shoot lengths and measurement dates by final shoot length and number of days to flower, respectively. Data used for parameter estimation originated with plants grown at a daily average of ≤20C, since those grown at a daily average above 20C exhibited delayed morphological flower induction and reached 50% of the final shoot length earlier in development. Relative shoot elongation was described by Richards function in the following form: Relative shoot length = SF × {1 + [(SF/SO)N-1] e-SF Kt}-1/N where t (relative time) = 0.0 to 1.0, SF (maximum relative shoot length) = 1.018, SO (relative shoot length at t = o) = 0.0131, N (model parameter related to the shape of the curve) =0.3923, and K (model parameter related to mean relative growth rate) = 5.8138.

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James E. Faust and Royal D. Heins

The effect of temperature on axillary bud and lateral shoot development of poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd.) `Eckespoint Lilo' and `Eckespoint Red Sails' was examined. Rooted `Eckespoint Lilo' cuttings were transplanted and placed into growth chambers maintained at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C for 2 weeks before apex removal. The percentage of nodes developing lateral shoots after apex removal was 68%, 69%, 73%, or 76% at 21, 24, 27, or 30 °C, respectively. Cuttings were removed from the lateral shoots, rooted, and placed into a 21 °C greenhouse, and the apices were removed. The percentage of nodes developing into lateral shoots on cuttings taken from plants held at 21, 24, 27, and 30 °C were 74%, 65%, 66%, and 21%, respectively. Of the cuttings in the 30 °C treatment, 83% of the nodes not producing a lateral shoot had poorly developed axillary buds or no visible axillary bud development. Visual rating of axillary bud viability decreased from 100% to 0% when `Eckespoint Red Sails' plants were transferred from a 21 °C greenhouse to a greenhouse maintained at 27 °C night temperature and 30 °C for 3 hours followed by 33 °C for 10 hours and 30 °C for 3 hours during the 16-hour day. Transfer from the high-temperature greenhouse to a 21 °C greenhouse increased axillary bud viability from 0% to 95%. Axillary buds of leaves not yet unfolded were sensitive to high temperatures, whereas those of unfolded leaves (i.e., fully developed correlatively inhibited buds) were not. Sixteen consecutive days in the high-temperature treatment were required for axillary bud development of `Eckespoint Red Sails' to be inhibited.