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  • Author or Editor: Michael R. Evans x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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The early onset of bract necrosis in poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willd. ex. Klotzch) is characterized by small dark-stained spots that precede the development of enlarged necrotic lesions. Electron micrographs of adaxial epidermal and subepidermal tissues with early symptoms of necrosis revealed large, electron-dense deposits in cell vacuoles. These spherical bodies resembled condensed tannins observed in the epidermal tissues of peach and apple fruit. Chemical analysis of bract tissues confirmed the presence of condensed tannins. Furthermore, there were higher concentrations of condensed tannin in bract samples with 2-mm-diameter lesions than in samples with lesions <0.5 mm (equivalent to catechin concentrations of 59 and 13 mg·g-1 fresh mass, respectively). No tannin bodies were observed in parallel samples of healthy-appearing bracts in which only trace concentrations of condensed tannins were measured (0.2 mg·g-1 fresh mass). The evidence suggests an association between condensed tannin accumulation in localized areas of the bract and the early appearance of bract necrosis symptoms.

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The poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima (Willd. ex. Klotzsch)] is a short-day plant (SDP) for floral initiation that will also initiate floral structures (cyathia) under long days (LD) after the apical meristem produces a cultivar-dependent number of nodes (long-day node number). Leaf removal, root restriction, and air layering failed to affect the long-day node number (LDNN) of the apical meristem. Repeated rooting of shoots, which resulted in the removal of nodes, did not affect the total number of nodes initiated by the apical meristem before floral initiation, although the number of nodes intact on the plant at the time of floral initiation was reduced. Reciprocal grafting of axillary buds of `Eckespoint Lilo' and `Gutbier V-14 Glory' plants did not affect the LDNN of the grafted meristem since the LDNN was the same as for nongrafted buds of the same cultivar. Further, grafting axillary buds from different positions along the main axis that differed in LDNN did not affect the LDNN of the grafted meristems. On the basis of these results, it was concluded that LD floral initiation in poinsettia is a function of the ontogenetic age of the meristem and that the LDNN represents a critical ontogenetic age for floral initiation to occur under LD.

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Exogenous foliar spray applications of gibberellic acid (GA3) applied at 7- or 14-day intervals providing 50 or 125 μg per plant inhibited long-day (LD) floral initiation in poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima (Willd. ex. Klotzsch)]. Periodic application of GA3 resulted in an additional number of nodes being produced by the plant before floral initiation equivalent to the number of nodes over which GA3 was applied. Further, GA, application eliminated the nodal position dependence of the long-day node number (LDNN) of axillary meristems observed in control plants. It was concluded that GA3 application inhibited the inclusion of nodes into the LDNN count and thus inhibited ontogenetic aging of the meristem. Exogenous application of GA, also inhibited LD floral initiation, while application of GA4 had no effect. Application of GA7 delayed LD floral initiation, but plants did initiate cyathia by the termination of the experiment. All gibberellins increased the average internode lengths similarly. The gibberllin-biosynthesis inhibitors chlormequat and paclobutrazol had no effect on LD floral initiation when applied as single or multiple foliar sprays or as soil drenches, although heights and internode lengths were reduced by application of the inhibitors. The LDNN of plants grown at 31C was significantly higher than of plants grown at 16, 21, or 26C. All plants eventually initiated cyathia regardless of temperature. When plants were grown under a range of day/night temperatures, an increase in the LDNN occurred only when plants were grown at 31C during the day. Chemical names used: 2-chloroethyl-trimethyl-ammonium chloride (chlormequat); (+/-)-(R*,R*)-β -(4-chlorophenyl)methyl-α -(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1-H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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