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  • Author or Editor: Jianjun Chen x
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Dieffenbachia Schott is an important ornamental foliage plant genus. A total of 30 species has been recognized, but most cultivars come from or are related to a single species, D. maculata (Lodd.) G. Don. At least 11 of the cultivars are sports or somaclonal variants. As a result, the potential lack of genetic diversity in cultivated Dieffenbachia has become a concern. However, no research has been conducted to determine the genetic relatedness of the cultivars. This study analyzed the genetic similarity of 42 Dieffenbachia cultivars using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Six primer sets, selected from an initial screening of 48, generated a total of 453 scorable AFLP fragments of which 323 (71%) are polymorphic. All cultivars were clearly differentiated by their AFLP fingerprints. A dendrogram was constructed using the unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic averages, and principal coordinated analysis was carried out to show multiple dimensions of the distribution of the cultivars. The 42 cultivars were divided into three clusters; clusters I and II comprise 18 and 23 cultivars, respectively. Jaccard's similarity coefficients for cultivars in the clusters I and II varied from 0.44 to 0.95 and 0.41 to 0.87, respectively. These results indicate that broadening the genetic variability in the Dieffenbachia gene pool is needed, but the genetic similarity of many cultivars is not as close as previously thought. Additionally, Jaccard's similarity coefficients between most sports or somaclonal variants and their parents were 0.73 or lower, suggesting that accumulation of somatic mutations through tissue culture may play a role in the increased variation between some sports or variants and their parents.

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Philodendrons (Philodendron Schott) are among the most popular tropical ornamental foliage plants used for interior decoration. However, limited information is available on the genetic relationships among popular Philodendron species and cultivars. This study analyzed genetic similarity of 43 cultivars across 15 species using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers with near infrared fluorescence labeled primers. Forty-eight EcoR I + 2/Mse I + 3 primer set combinations were screened, from which six primer sets were selected and used in this investigation. Each selected primer set generated 96 to 130 scorable fragments. A total of 664 AFLP fragments were detected, of which 424 (64%) were polymorphic. All cultivars were clearly differentiated by their AFLP fingerprints, and the relationships were analyzed using the unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic average cluster analysis (UPGMA) and principal coordinated analysis (PCA). The 43 cultivars were divided into five clusters. Cluster I comprises eight cultivars with arborescent growth style. Cluster II has only one cultivar, `Goeldii'. There are 16 cultivars in cluster III, and most of them are self-heading interspecific hybrids originated from R.H. McColley's breeding program in Apopka, Fla. Cluster IV contains 13 cultivars that exhibit semi-vining growth style. Cluster V has five cultivars that are true vining in morphology, and they have lowest genetic similarity with philodendrons in other clusters. Cultivated philodendrons are generally genetically diverse except the self-heading hybrids in cluster III that were mainly developed using self-heading and semi-vining species as parents. Seven hybrid cultivars have Jaccard's similarity coefficients of 0.88 or higher, suggesting that future hybrid development needs to select parents with diverse genetic backgrounds.

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Ornamental Ficus L. is a group of lactiferous trees, shrubs, and woody root-climbing vines that are cultivated either as landscape plants in the tropics and subtropics or as foliage plants used worldwide for interiorscaping. With the recent rapid expansion of the ornamental plant industry, more new Ficus species and cultivars have been introduced. However, no study has thus far addressed the genetic relationships of cultivated ornamental Ficus. Using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers with near-infrared fluorescence-labeled primers, this study analyzed the genetic relatedness of 56 commercial cultivars across 12 species. Forty-eight EcoRI + 2/MseI + 3 primer set combinations were initially screened, from which six primer sets were selected and used in this investigation. Most cultivars were differentiated by their AFLP fingerprints, and their relationships were determined using the unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic average cluster analysis. The 56 cultivars were divided into 12 clusters that correspond to 12 species, indicating that no interspecific hybrids of ornamental Ficus are in commercial production. The 12 species are genetically diverse, with Jaccard's similarity coefficients ranging from 0.21 to 0.43. However, cultivars within three species—Ficus benjamina L., Ficus elastica Roxb. Ex Hornem., and Ficus pumila L.—are genetically close. Twenty-seven of the 29 cultivars of F. benjamina and five cultivars of F. pumila had Jaccard's similarity coefficients of 0.98 or higher respectively. Nine cultivars of F. elastica shared Jaccard's coefficients higher than 0.96. These results indicate potential genetic vulnerability of these cultivars within the three species. Because there are increasing reports of invasive pests in the ornamental plant industry, strategies for conserving genetic resources and broadening genetic diversity of cultivated Ficus are discussed.

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Adenium obesum (Forssk.), Roem. & Schult. has been increasingly produced as a flowering potted plant; however, there is no information regarding its tissue mineral composition. This study evaluated plant performance of A. obesum ‘Red’ grown in two container sizes and under four rates of a controlled-release fertilizer. Nutrient concentrations in flowers, leaves, stems, and roots were analyzed. Results showed that canopy height and width, stem caliper, top and root dry weights, and average flower count of A. obesum ‘Red’ increased linearly with the increased rate of fertilizer regardless of pot size. Tissue analysis indicated that nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K) concentrations were lower in all organs compared with those reported for other ornamental potted plants such as Bouvardia Salisb., Euphorbia L., Rhododendron L., and Rosa L. The lower levels of tissue N and P accompanied with higher dry matter accumulation suggest that A. obesum ‘Red’ is efficient in use of N and P. The low tissue K levels were largely attributed to sodium (Na) substitution for K. Leaf K and Na concentrations were almost equal except at the highest fertilizer treatment in 1.25-L pots and the last two higher treatments in 3.0-L pots. The levels of other mineral elements were comparable to those of other reported ornamental potted plants. To produce high-quality plants in 1.25-L pots, Adenium ‘Red’ should be fertilized with 1.08 g N per liter of potting mix. For plants grown in 3.0-L pots, N rates of 0.36 g or 0.72 g per liter of potting mix would be recommended with a preference for 0.36 g.

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Peace lily (Spathiphyllum Schott) is one of the most popular tropical ornamental foliage plants and is used worldwide for interiorscaping. However, little information is available on the genetic relationships of cultivars. Using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers with near-infrared fluorescence-labeled primers, this study analyzed genetic relatedness of 63 commercial cultivars and breeding lines. Forty-eight EcoRI + 2/MseI + 3 primer set combinations were initially screened, from which six primer sets were selected and used in this investigation. All cultivars were clearly differentiated by their AFLP fingerprints, and the relationships were analyzed using the unweighted pair-group method of arithmetic average cluster analysis (UPGMA). The 63 cultivars were divided into four clusters. All commercial cultivars or breeding lines resulted from crosses of some of the cultivars, a total of 45, were positioned in cluster I with Jaccard's similarity coefficients between 0.61 and 0.88. There was only one cultivar in cluster II. Cluster III contained 16 cultivars; they are either species or breeding lines generated from interspecific hybridization. Cluster IV had one unknown species. This study provides genetic evidence as to why cultivars from cluster I and III are not readily crossable because the Jaccard's similarity coefficient between the two clusters was only 0.35. Results also indicate that commercial cultivars are genetically close. Strategies for increasing genetic diversity of cultivated peace lily should be sought for future breeding efforts.

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This study established a new method for regenerating Anthurium andraeanum Lind. and evaluated effects of different wavelengths from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) on rooting and growth of adventitious shoots. Callus occurred in leaf explants of A. andraeanum ‘Alabama’ and ‘Sierra’ cultured on a modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with four concentrations of N-phenyl-N′-1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-ylurea (TDZ). Adventitious shoots were induced from callus pieces (≈1 cm3) cultured on the modified MS medium containing 6-benzyladenine (BA) with kinetin (KN), BA, and/or KN with 3-indolebutyric acid (IBA) or α-naphthalene acetic acid (NAA). Results showed that 1.82 μM TDZ induced 83.3% and 77.8% of leaf explants of ‘Alabama’ and ‘Sierra’ to produce callus and 24.9 and 24.7 adventitious shoots were produced per callus piece of ‘Alabama’ and ‘Sierra’ cultured on the modified MS medium containing 0.89 μM BA, 2.32 μM KN, and 0.98 μM IBA, respectively. Adventitious shoots were cut and rooted in the modified MS medium containing 0.98 μM IBA and grown under the same light level but with different light qualities. All adventitious shoots rooted; root numbers, root lengths, root fresh and dry weights, and leaf area of plantlets grown under red plus blue light were comparable to those grown under conventional fluorescent white light. Shoot height was the greatest in monochromic blue light followed by red light. Shoot fresh and dry weights of plantlets grown under red plus blue light, however, were significantly greater than those grown under the other light qualities. Plantlets grown under red plus blue light had 22.7% greater total dry weight and more balanced root-to-shoot ratio than those grown under fluorescent white light. These results suggested the use of complex of red plus blue LED could be an option for improving growth of A. andraeanum plantlets in vitro.

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Potted anthurium is becoming an important indoor flowering foliage plant because of its unique attractive appearance and continuous growth and flowering under interior conditions. However, an interior environment, with controlled optimal temperatures and relative humidity and living plants, is an ideal niche for pest development. Pests such as thrips and two-spotted spider mite on Anthurium have been great challenges to the interiorscape industry because many pesticides have been rigorously restricted for interior use. Thus, exploiting the genetic potential of cultivar resistance may be the best approach for the control of these pests. In this study, eight of the most popular Anthurium cultivars were evaluated for their resistance to a natural infestation of thrips (Hercinothrips femoralis) and two-spotted spider mite (Tetranychus urticae) under three light levels: 4, 8, and 16 μmol·m-2·s-1, temperatures of 23.8 to 26.7 °C and a relative humidity of 60%. Results indicated that significant resistant differences exist among cultivars. The cultivars most resistant to thrips were not the most resistant to mite and vice versa. Cultivars that exhibited moderate resistance to thrips were also moderately resistant to mite. Low light intensity appeared to be a factor influencing thrips infestation since control plants that grew under a light intensity of 200 μmol·m-2·s-1 had no observed thrips damage. On the other hand, two-spotted spider mite infestation was not influenced by light intensity.

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