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  • Author or Editor: Will Neily x
  • Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science x
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Stem elongation rates (SERs) of `Giant Tetra' snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus L.) and `Pompon' zinnia (Zinnia violacea Cav.) were determined in three temperature regimes in which differentials had been established between day and night temperature. The differentials [expressed as day temperature - night temperature (DIF)] were +5 DIF, 21 °C day/16 °C night; 0 DIF, 18.7 °C constant; and -5 DIF, 16.5 °C day/21.5 °C night; daily average 18.7 °C. In each regimes SERs were determined for three developmental stages—vegetative, visible bud, and preanthesis. SER was measured in controlled-environment chambers under 13-hour day/11-hour night photoperiods using linear voltage displacement transducers. Snapdragon and zinnia displayed rhythmic patterns of growth with strikingly different characteristics. SER for snapdragon consisted of a large peak in growth at the day/night (D/N) transition followed by a minimum in SER at the night/day (N/D) transition. The pattern did not change through development. In contrast the SER pattern changed significantly in zinnia. At the vegetative stage, diurnal SER was dominated by a large peak after the N/D transition [an early morning peak (EMP)]. At the later growth stages, the EMP remained visible, but the proportion of growth occurring at night increased. SER was rhythmic in both species for a limited period in continuous light and constant temperature. Zinnia displayed a stronger endogenous rhythm of SER than snapdragon. In both species, only day period growth was affected by DIF. The size of EMPs in both species increased under positive DIF and decreased under negative DIF, resulting in the overall DIF effect on plant height (a progressive increase in total diurnal elongation as DIF increased from -5 to +5). Internode lengths for snapdragon and zinnia were similar for plants grown to full flower at constant 17, 20, or 23 °C (0 DIF), indicating that DIF—not average daily, night, or day temperature—is a major determinant of extension growth.

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