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  • Author or Editor: Harrison Hughes x
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The evergreen Ceanothus velutinus and semi-evergreen C. fendleri are native Colorado, drought-tolerant shrubs. They are of interest for landscaping and rock gardens, but have poor seed germination as well as vary considerably in growth form and habit. Asexual propagation methods would be important for commercial development of these species. Basal hardwood cuttings of C. velutinus were rooted using four different concentrations of IBA. The highest concentration of IBA (0.8%) showed the highest rooting (14.8%), while the average number of roots per cutting was highest for 0.1%. Ceanothus fendleri shoot tips were cultured on MS medium with four BA (0.89, 4.4, 8.9 and 17.8 μM) and three 2ip concentrations (24.6, 49.0 and 73.6 μM). After nine weeks an average of six shoots were produced in treatments having 4.9 μM of BA. Lower concentrations of BA up to 9.8 μM were better than higher concentrations of BA or 2ip. There was a tendency for production of callus at the higher levels of 8A and all levels of 2ip.

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Scanning electron microscopy was used to study stomatal function of grape (Vitis sp. `Valiant') plantlets grown in vitro, polyethylene glycoltreated (PEG) in vitro and greenhouse. Fully open stomata were observed in in vitro grown plants with large aperture (13.5μm) as compared to narrow stomatal opening and small aperture in PEG-treated (4.9pm) and greenhouse grown plants (3.2μm). Furthermore, stomates of persistent leaves initiated during in vitro culture remained fully open with large apertures (12.8μm) two weeks after transplanting in the greenhouse. In contrast, newly-formed leaves produced in the greenhouse from in vitro cultured plants showed narrow stomatal opening with small apertures (3.3μm). In vitro produced leaves exhibited rapid wilting followed by irreversible tissue damage and severe desiccation within three hours of transplantation into the greenhouse. However, PEG-treated plantlets showed a reduced stomatal opening with associated minimal stress when directly transferred into the greenhouse. Thus use of an osmotic agent, PEG, induced more normal stomata1 function as well as improved survival after transfer to the greenhouse.

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Scanning electron microscopic (SEM) studies and gravimetric analysis of in vitro cultured leaf surfaces showed reduced epicuticular wax (EW) structurally and quantitatively as compared to greenhouse plants. However, leaves of in vitro plantlets subjected to polyethylene glycol-treatment (PEG) showed an increase in quantitative and structural EW which was similar to that of greenhouse plants. Furthermore, leaves initiated during in vitro culture and which persisted, when transferred to the greenhouse, showed an increase in structural wax as well as in amount, 30 days after transplanting in the greenhouse. Similarly, leaves newly-formed in the greenhouse from in vitro cultured plants developed more dense crystalline structure and greater levels of wax than those leaves observed immediately after removal from culture. A correlation between density of structural EW and amount of EW were observed in in vitro cultured, PEG-treated in vitro cultured and greenhouse grown leaves.

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Saltgrass (Distichlis spicata) has received increased attention as a result of its low input needs. A good understanding of the factors that influence greater flower production in saltgrass clones would facilitate seed production management and hybridization in the breeding program. Therefore, the influence of sampling time from the field, nitrogen (N) fertilization, and burning on flowering spike production of five saltgrass clones from three cold-hardiness zones were evaluated over 2 years. Clones were sampled from the field at two times (August and November) in the first and at three times (August, November, and January) in the second experimental year. After field sampling, clones were transferred to the greenhouse and received N and burning treatments. N fertilization increased number of spikes (flowering) for all saltgrass clones by ≈30% in both experimental years. In the second experimental year, the number of spikes was increased to a greater extent when N was applied in combination with burning treatment as compared with N without burning. The burning treatment had a greater effect on the number of spikes in plants sampled in August as compared with those sampled in November and January. Sampling in November increased flowering in three clones as compared with August sampling, but with the greatest effect in clone A1540. Sampling in January further increased the number of spikes in clones 1490 and A1610 but with no significant effect on the number of spikes in clone A1540. Environmental adaptation associated with origin of saltgrass clones is a major factor that influences flowering spike production.

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Development of a new turfgrass cultivar requires an evaluation of numerous traits as well as an understanding of environmental factors influencing those traits. Growth or ability to fill in gaps and time of fall dormancy (fall color retention) that indicates cold hardiness are important traits for turfgrasses. This study was initiated to characterize variation in saltgrass [Distichlis spicata L. (Greene)] growth and time of fall dormancy related to climatic and geographical factors at the source location (geographical location of clone origin). Growth traits and time of fall dormancy were measured on 52 saltgrass clones collected from 41 locations and established at one location (common garden) in Fort Collins, CO. Principal component analysis on the morphological traits extracted the first principal component that explained 78% of the variability. The first principal component and time of fall dormancy were related to climatic and geographical factors at the source locations. Variation in growth traits was related to seasonal climatic variables of summer drying and fall cooling that explained ≈50% of variability in morphological traits. Variation in time of fall dormancy was related to longitude of clone origin and minimum winter temperature. These two variables explained ≈60% of the total variability in time of fall dormancy. Information obtained in this study may help breeders identify the best environments for specific traits and suggests that cold tolerance could be a problem for some clones from western sources if established too far east.

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Propagation of Winecups [Callirhoe involucrata (Torrey & A. Gray)] for use as a landscape ornamental has been impeded by a lack of understanding of the seed dormancy and a practical method for overcoming it. As with many members of the Malvaceae family, C. involucrata produces hard seed. In the populations tested, it accounted for 90% of an average sample. Impermeability, however, is not the only limiting factor to germination. Three disparate populations of seed, representing two different collection years have been investigated using moist pre-chilling, boiling water, leaching, gibberellic acid, hydrogen peroxide and mechanical and chemical scarification methods. Scarifying in concentrated sulfuric acid stimulates germination of some seed fractions and causes embryonic damage in others, suggesting variation in seed coat thickness. Similar results were obtained using a pressurized air-scarifier; the hard seed coat of some seed fractions were precisely scarified while others were physically damaged using the same psi/time treatment. Placing seed in boiling water increases germination from 4%, 7%, and 18 % to 23%, 25%, and 77% in the three populations, respectively. Leaching for 24/48 h in cold (18 °C) aerated water or for 24 h in warm (40 °C) aerated water showed only a minor increase over the control. Pre-chilling at 5 °C for 30, 60, and 90 days showed no improvement over the control. Gibberellic acid-soaked blotters improved germination at 400 ppm to 20%, 10%, and 41%; at 500 ppm germination was reduced. Soaking seed for 24 h in a 3% concentration of hydrogen peroxide did not effect germination; at a 30% concentration germination was reduced. The considerable variation in seed dormancy expression may be a function of differences in environmental factors during development or seed age.

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Fringed gentian, Gentiana thermalis (O. Kuntze) Iltis is an attractive wildflower, that may be used as a fall flowering ornamental. This species has received limited attention in terms of seed viability and germination. Seeds were subjected to a tetrazolium viability test that involved imbibition for 24 hours at 22C. No embryos in any line tested were stained. However, imbibition at 3C for up to 4 weeks followed by staining at 22C resulted in significant levels of positive viability, as indicated by embryo staining. A germination study indicated that stratification was necessary for germination, with 6 weeks chilling giving better results than 0 or 3 weeks. However, the number of seeds germinated was less than expected, given the results of the tetrazolium test.

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Freezing is the major abiotic stress that limits geographic distribution of warm season turfgrasses. Prior studies have indicated variation in freezing tolerance in saltgrass clones. Therefore, this study examined freezing tolerance of 27 saltgrass clones as related to collection sites in three zones of cold hardiness. Furthermore, these clones were evaluated for time of leaf browning in the fall with the intent to determine if there was a correlation between this trait and freezing tolerance. Rhizomes were sampled during 2004 and 2005 midwinters from clones established in Fort Collins, Colo., and then subjected to a freezing test in a programmable freezer. Saltgrass freezing tolerance was highly influenced by the climatic zone of clone origin in both years of the experiment. Clones with greater freezing tolerance turned brown earlier in fall in both seasons. Ranking of zones for the average LT50 (lethal temperature at which 50% of rhizomes died) was: zone 4, most northern (−17.2 °C) < zone 5 (−14.4 °C), < zone 6, most southern (−11.1 °C) in 2004, and zone 4 (−18.3 °C), < zone 5 (−15.7 °C) < zone 6 (−13.1 °C) in 2005. Clones from northern areas tolerated lower freezing temperatures overall. This likely indicates that freezing tolerance is inherited. Large intraspecific variation in freezing tolerance may be effectively used in developing cold hardy cultivars.

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Abstract

A disorder of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) in an area exposed to high temperature and solar radiation has been identified as a form of solar injury. Specific fruit maturity stages were defined and susceptibility to injury was found to rapidly increase as fruit matured from the “green” to the “white” to the “pink” stage. Appreciable injury (more than two unpigmented drupelets per fruit) only occurred at 42C and higher with 4 or more hours of UV radiation at the fluence level used. While the injury at 42C was proportional to UV exposure, the radiation environment in the laboratory was not designed to simulate solar radiation. Therefore, no quantitative function relating injury to fruit temperature and UV radiation is presented. The results indicated that attenuating UV absorption alone, without lowering temperature, is likely to protect raspberries in the field.

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After 6 months of growth in 200,400, and 500 mm NaCl, cultured cells of Distichlis spicata showed a decreased cell volume (size) despite maintenance of turgor pressure sometimes 2-fold higher than that of the control. Tensile strength, as measured by a nitrogen gas decompression technique, showed empirically that the walls of NaCl-stressed cells were weaker than those of nonstressed cells. Breaking pressures of the walls of control cells were ≈68 ± 4 bars, while that of the walls of cells grown in 500 mm NaCl (-25 bars) were 14 ± 2 bars. The relative amount of cellulose per cell remained about constant despite salt stress. However, glucuronoarabinoxylans were more readily extractable, presumably because of a decrease in cross-linkage with phenol substances. Therefore, we suggest that cellulose microfibrils are not the only determinants that confer tensile strength to the primary cell wall, but rather subtle changes in the matrix polysaccharides are likely responsible for this event.

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