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  • Author or Editor: Jianjun Chen x
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Weigela florida (Bunge) A. DC. is a popular flowering shrub adapted to a wide range of environmental conditions. Efficient methods for micropropagation of this species have not been well developed. The present study established a protocol for in vitro shoot culture of W. florida ‘Tango’ after a systematic evaluation of different culture media, cytokinins, and auxins on axillary shoot induction. Single-node stems were cultured on Driver and Kuniyuki Walnut (DKW) medium for initial production of axillary shoots. The shoots were used as explants and cultured on DKW medium supplemented with 8.88 μm 6-benzylaminopurine (BA) and 0.27 μm naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA), resulting in the production of more than six axillary shoots per explant. The axillary shoots could either be used as explants for additional shoot production or be cultured on ½ DKW medium supplemented with 0.25 μm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) for rooting. Plantlets were transplanted into a substrate with 99% survival rate in a shaded greenhouse. This established method could be used for rapid propagation of W. florida to speed the introduction of new hybrids or cultivars for commercial production.

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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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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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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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Chinese cymbidiums are important flowering ornamental plants. Traditional propagation via seed or division cannot satisfy growers’ demand for commercialization of new cultivars, and in vitro propagation has a low micropropagation efficiency due to the browning of rhizomes. In this study, rhizomes of Cymbidium ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ were cultured on half-strength Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 6-benzyl aminopurine (BAP), NAA (α-napthaleneacetic acid), or BAP with NAA under either the dark or light. The degree of browning was read, and rhizome proliferation or sprouting (sprout numbers) was evaluated. Results showed that there was significant difference in browning grade of rhizomes between ‘14-16-13’ and ‘14-16-5’ regardless of dark and light culture. Dark culture induced rhizome proliferation but failed to induce sprouts. Light culture slightly elevated the degree of browning but induced sprouting. Among the growth regulators evaluated, BAP was more effective for sprout induction. As rhizome browning appeared to be inevitable in micropropagation of the cymbidiums, a compromise between browning and sprout production could be a realistic approach. Our study showed that rhizomes cultured on half-strength MS medium supplemented with 1.5 mg·L−1 BAP were able to produce more than 16 sprouts per vessel even though browning occurred in the rhizomes. Thus, culturing rhizomes in this medium could be a practical solution for in vitro propagation of Chinese cymbidiums.

Open Access

Substrate stratification is a new research area in which multiple substrates, or the same substrate with differing physical properties, are layered within a container to accomplish a production goal, such as decreasing water use, nutrient leaching, or potentially reducing weed growth. Previous research using stratification with pine (Pinus sp.) bark screened to ≤1/2 or 3/4 inch reduced the growth of bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa) by 80% to 97%, whereas liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) coverage was reduced by 95% to 99%. The objective of this study was to evaluate substrate stratification with pine bark screened to remove all fine particles as the top strata of the substrate and determine its effect on common nursery weeds and ornamental plants. Stratified treatments consisted of pine bark screened to either 1/8 to 1/4 inch, 1/4 to 1/2 inch, or 3/8 to 3/4 inch, applied at depths of either 1 or 2 inches on top of a standard ≤1/2-inch pine bark substrate. An industry-standard treatment was also included in which the substrate was not stratified but consisted of only ≤1/2-inch pine bark throughout the container. A controlled-release fertilizer was incorporated at the bottom strata in all stratified treatments (no fertilizer in the top 1 or 2 inches of the container media), whereas the industry standard treatment had fertilizer incorporated throughout. Compared with the nonstratified industry standard, substrate stratification decreased spotted spurge (Euphorbia maculata) counts by 30% to 84% and bittercress counts by 57% to 94% after seeding containers. The shoot dry weight of spotted spurge was reduced by 14% to 55%, and bittercress shoot dry weight was reduced by 71% to 93% in stratified treatments. Liverwort coverage was reduced by nearly 100% in all the stratified substrate treatments. Compared with the industry standard substrate, stratified treatments reduced shoot dry weight of ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum) by up to 20%, but no differences were observed in growth index, nor were any growth differences observed in blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata).

Open Access

Substrate stratification is a method of filling nursery containers with “layers” of different substrates, or different textures of the same substrate. Recently, it has been proposed as a means to improve drainage, substrate moisture dynamics, and optimize nutrient use efficiency. Substrates layered with larger particle bark as the top portion and smaller particle bark as the bottom portion of the container profile would theoretically result in a substrate that dries quickly on the surface, thereby reducing weed germination, but that would also retain adequate moisture for crop growth. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of stratified substrates on the growth of common nursery weeds and ornamental crops. This study evaluated the use of coarser bark (<0.5 or 0.75 inches) as the top substrate and finer bark (<0.38 inches) as the bottom substrate with the goal of reducing the water-holding capacity in the top 2 to 3 inches of the substrate to reduce weed germination and growth. Results showed that substrate stratification with more coarse bark on the top decreased the growth of bittercress (Cardamine flexuosa) by 80% to 97%, whereas liverwort (Marchantia polymorpha) coverage was reduced by 95% to 99%. Substrate stratification initially reduced the growth of ligustrum (Ligustrum japonicum) and blue plumbago (Plumbago auriculata), but there was no difference in the shoot or root dry weights of either species in comparison with those of nonstratified industry standard substrates at the end of 24 weeks. The data suggest substrate stratification could be used as an effective weed management strategy for container nursery production.

Open Access