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Caroline J. Poole, Audrey I. Gerber and Gerard Jacobs

Brunia albiflora (Pillans) is harvested commercially in South Africa as a cut flower for export to European markets. To compete with European cut flowers high quality and continuity of product during the marketing period are essential. Optimizing the cut-flower potential of B. albiflora requires an understanding of the flowering process and selection of clonal material. We present a series of scanning electron micrographs which show three-dimensional images of the developmental stages of the shoot apex during the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive state. In B. albiflora the inflorescence consists of more than 15 individual rotund inflorescences arising from lateral positions on the terminal portion of the shoot. Development of the apical meristem of axillary shoots was studied to determine the time and sequence of inflorescence initiation and development. These observations identified that flower initiation occurs in October, followed by flower development through summer, with anthesis being reached from February to March.