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  • Author or Editor: Richard J. Henny x
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Homalomena `Emerald Gem' is an important ornamental foliage plant and widely used for interior plantscaping. Current propagation of this cultivar has been primarily carried out through in vitro culture by organogenesis; regeneration through somatic embryogenesis has not been documented. This report describes successful plant regeneration via direct somatic embryogenesis from explants of different organs. Somatic embryos formed at and around the cut surface of petiole, spathe, and peduncle explants. Embryos also appeared at the base between expanded ovaries of the spadix segment, and around midrib of leaf explants. The optimal treatments for somatic embryo occurrence from petiole, spathe, and peduncle explants were MS medium containing 0.2 mg/L NAA or 0.5 mg/L 2, 4-D with 2.0 mg/L CPPU, and for spadix explants were MS medium with 0.5 mg/L PAA and 2.5 mg/L TDZ. Somatic embryos appeared 6 to 8 weeks after culture and formed large embryo clumps in 3 to 4 months. Somatic embryos produced more secondary embryos and geminated on induction medium. Multiple shoot development and plant regeneration occurred from somatic embryo clusters on MS medium without hormone or with 2 mg/L BA and 0.2 mg/L NAA. The regenerated plants grew vigorously after transplanting to a soilless container substrate in a shaded greenhouse.

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Injection of 100 or 200 ppm 6-furfurylaminopurine (kinetin) into detached Lilium longiflorum (Easter lily) styles before pollination removed the differential pollen tube growth attributable to the self-incompatibility reaction so that both compatible and incompatible pollen tubes reached lengths typical of compatible tubes. Prepollination injections of 50 ppm kinetin produced variable results while injection of 1 or 10 ppm kinetin had no effect on pollen tube growth.

Open Access

Plant tissue culture can induce a variety of genetic and epigenetic changes in regenerated plantlets, a phenomenon known as somaclonal variation. Such variation has been widely used in the ornamental foliage plant industry as a source for selection of new cultivars. In ornamental aroids alone, at least 63 somaclonal-derived cultivars have been released. In addition to morphological differences, many somaclonal aroid cultivars can be distinguished by amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis. However, a few cultivars have no detectable polymorphisms with their parents or close relatives by AFLP fingerprints. It is postulated that DNA methylation may be involved in the morphological changes of these cultivars. In this study, methylation-sensitive amplification polymorphism (MSAP) technique was used to study DNA methylation in selected somaclonal cultivars of Alocasia, Aglaonema, Anthurium, Dieffenbachia, Philodendron, and Syngonium. Results showed that polymorphisms were detected in the somaclonal cultivars, suggesting that DNA methylation polymorphisms may associate with tissue culture-induced mutation in ornamental aroids. This is the first study of methylation variation in somaclonal variants of ornamental foliage plants. The results clearly demonstrate that the MSAP technique is highly efficient in detecting DNA methylation events in somaclonal-derived cultivars.

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Curcuma L. is an economically important genus in the family Zingiberaceae. Many species are grown as medicinal, culinary, and ornamental crops. As a result of their high morphological diversity and small chromosome sizes, chromosome numbers and species relationships of Chinese Curcumas remain debated. This study examined chromosome numbers of 15 populations representing 11 species of Curcuma from China. Results showed that only Curcuma flaviflora S. Q. Tong was diploid with 2n = 2x = 42 and C. kwangsiensis S. G. Lee & C. F. Liang was tetraploid with 2n = 4x = 84. The other species were triploid (2n = 3x = 63). The study indicated that the basic chromosome number of Curcuma from China could be x = 21. The diploid C. flaviflora produced viable seeds, which was the main means for propagation. The tetraploid and the triploids produced no seeds and relied on rhizomes for propagation. Chromosome sizes of all species were small, ranging from 0.5 to 2.1 μm, which prevented karyotype analysis. The fact that nine of 11 species studied were triploid indicates that triploidy may have some type of competitive advantage over the diploid and tetraploid. In addition, the triploids are popular commercially because of abundant rhizome production and this may contribute to their wide distributions.

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Codiaeum variegatum (L.) Blume, commonly known as crotons, are among the most popular ornamental foliage plants cultivated for either landscaping or interiorscaping. Currently, more than 300 cultivars are available; each has a distinct phenotype, particularly in leaf morphology. Thus far, there is no information regarding their genetic relationships. In this study, genetic relatedness of 44 cultivars of C. variegatum was investigated using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers. Fourteen primer combinations generated a total of 549 AFLP fragments, which were used to estimate genetic distances and construct dendrograms based on the neighbor-joining method. The 44 cultivars were divided into seven clusters, which concurred with the known history of croton geographical isolation, adaptation, introduction, and breeding activities but differed from the classification made by the Croton Society based on leaf morphology. The established genetic relationships could be important for future germplasm identification and conservation and new cultivar development. Additionally, genetic distance among the 44 cultivars was 0.322 or less, indicating that they have a narrow genetic base. The narrow genetic base may indicate that the cultivars were derived from a common progenitor. On the other hand, 81% of the 549 fragments were polymorphic and the average polymorphic information content was 0.22, which suggests that the cultivars are genetically highly polymorphic. The high polymorphisms may be attributed to significant gene loss or gain facilitated by mutation and/or chromosome variation, thus contributing to a wide range of leaf morphological differences among cultivars.

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