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  • Author or Editor: Jessica D. Lubell-Brand x
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Epimedium is a genus of shade tolerant herbaceous perennials and groundcovers that are slow growing and command high prices. This research examined the influence of division size and timing on propagation success and growth of E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum Boiss., E. × rubrum Morren, E. × versicolor `Sulphureum' Morren and E. × youngianum Fisch. To determine an appropriate division size for each species, small (single bud) and large (three bud) divisions were made in mid-June 2002 and 2003. For the timing study, uniform divisions (three to five buds for E. pinnatum ssp. colchicum and E. × versicolor `Sulphureum'; four to seven buds for E. ×rubrum and E. × youngianum) were made in March, late June and late August, when plants were dormant, had just completed foliage expansion, or were summer dormant. Half of the plants were destructively harvested in the fall and half were overwintered and forced in the greenhouse in early spring. By the end of the growing season, plants grown from large divisions were larger than those grown from small divisions and had produced more buds, however, plants from small divisions produced more buds per initial bud than plants from large divisions, demonstrating a faster increase in growing points. For each species, March divisions produced more vegetative growth, buds, buds per initial bud and potential propagules than June and August divisions, by the end of the growing season. However, by the following spring, both March and June divisions had produced plants of similar size and appearance, while plants grown from August divisions were smaller and of lower quality.

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Red-flowered elepidote rhododendrons (Rhododendron sp.) are favored by consumers, but cold-hardy red-flowered rhododendrons frequently have blue-red flower hue rather than the preferred red flower hue. Flower longevity, color, and color stability over 14 days were studied for the following eight elepidote rhododendron cultivars possessing red flowers: Besse Howells, Burma, Cary’s Red, Firestorm, Francesca, Henry’s Red, Low Red Frilled, and Nova Zembla. The eight cultivars were separated by flower hue into two distinct groups of four cultivars each. Rhododendron cultivars Burma, Firestorm, Francesca, and Henry’s Red produced flowers with red hue and Besse Howells, Cary’s Red, Low Red Frilled, and Nova Zembla produced flowers with blue-red hue. Flower longevity among rhododendron cultivars varied with Francesca blooms lasting the longest at over 14 days, and Besse Howells and Firestorm blooms lasting the shortest at 10 days. As flowers aged, hue angle decreased (became bluer), lightness increased, and chroma decreased or remained unchanged. The degree of change in flower color over time differed among cultivars, with ‘Francesca’ demonstrating the least change (ΔE 00 3) and ‘Besse Howells’ the most change (ΔE 00 11).

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Interest in hemp (Cannabis sativa) for its medicinal compounds, cannabidiol (CBD), and Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC), continues to increase. Maximizing yield of CBD and/or THC requires female plants because female inflorescences accumulate significantly greater concentrations of these compounds than male inflorescences. Production of all female seed requires induction of female plants to develop male flowers that produce genetically female pollen. Growers would like access to feminized seed to produce all-female crops. We evaluated the efficacy of 0, 0.3, and 3 mm silver thiosulfate (STS) applied as a foliar spray (on three occasions 7 days apart) to produce male flowers on four strains of female hemp (having a THC concentration of ≤0.3%), designated CBD hemp A, CBD hemp B, CBD hemp C, and industrial hemp. Silver thiosulfate at 3 mm was the most efficacious treatment for all strains. The majority of inflorescences had 100% male flowers at 3 mm STS, and terminal inflorescences had ≥95% conversion to male flowers. Silver thiosulfate at 0.3 mm produced partial conversion to male flowers, whereas most inflorescences had around 50% male flowers, except for CBD hemp A, which demonstrated greater levels of masculinization. At 0.3 mm STS, terminal inflorescences of CBD hemp A had 91% conversion to male flowers. This study demonstrates that male flowers can be produced easily and consistently on female plants through application of foliar sprays of STS under short-day conditions.

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Genetically female seed is sought for cannabidiol (CBD) hemp production because CBD is extracted from the flowers of female hemp plants. The production of all female seed requires masculinization of female plants to produce genetically female pollen that reliably generates female seed. Of the five female hemp genotypes that we masculinized using foliar sprays of silver thiosulfate (Abacus, Cherry Wine, Mountain Mango, Youngsim10, Wife), all genotypes produced fewer large and more irregular or misshapen pollen grains than genetically male plants. The masculinized female genotypes Wife and Cherry Wine produced pollen with germination rates similar to those of the male genotype Kentucky Sunshine. Female hemp genotypes vary in their ability to produce usable pollen that disperses well, is easily collected, and germinates as well as pollen from genetically male hemp plants.

Open Access

To maximize yield, cannabidiol (CBD) hemp producers prefer female plants, and this is accomplished by using expensive feminized seed, vegetatively propagated female clones, or by removing male plants from dioecious seed lots. Hemp pollen drifts long distances on wind, and pollination of females reduces CBD content. Induction of triploidy is a common strategy used by plant breeders to produce sterile cultivars of agricultural crops. Triploid (3n) hemp, with three sets of chromosomes, was developed by crossing naturally diploid (2n) hemp with tetraploid (4n) hemp. Tetraploid plants used to create triploids were produced using pregerminated seeds and the mitotic spindle inhibitor colchicine. Seedlings from seeds of ‘Abacas’ × [(‘Otto2’ × ‘BaOx’) × (‘BaOx’ × ‘Colorado Cherry’)] treated with 0.05% colchicine or 0.02% colchicine for 12 hours and longer were significantly shorter than controls and ≤1 cm tall at 10 days after sowing. Surviving seedlings exhibited thickened cotyledons and hypocotyls, which indicated a potential change in ploidy. Tetraploid induction ranged from 26% to 64% for pregerminated seeds of five different hemp cultivars (Abacus × Wife, Cherry Wine, Mountain Mango, Wife, and Youngsim10) treated with 0.05% colchicine for 12 hours. Tetraploids had nearly twice the DNA content as diploids according to flow cytometric analysis. Tetraploid ‘Wife’ had larger stomates and reduced stomatal density compared with diploid ‘Wife’. Four triploid ‘Wife’ genotypes produced from crossing tetraploid ‘Wife’ with diploid ‘Wife’ were acclimated to greenhouse conditions after embryo rescue. DNA content and stomate size of triploid ‘Wife’ was intermediate between the parents. This is the first report of triploid plants of hemp. Future research will evaluate the sterility of triploid hemp.

Open Access

There is demand for early-flowering cannabis (Cannabis sativa) cultivars to hasten harvest and avoid late-season detrimental weather conditions. A field study and greenhouse studies were conducted to evaluate the effect of gene dosage at the autoflowering locus on flowering timing for diploid and triploid hybrids between autoflowering and photoperiod-sensitive parents. Autoflowering × photoperiod-sensitive hybrids were all photoperiod sensitive, but their critical photoperiods were longer than for homozygous photoperiod-sensitive plants, which resulted in earlier flowering. For triploid genotypes, decreasing dosage of the photoperiod-sensitive allele (A), from AAA to AAa to Aaa, reduced the time to flowering. Flowering timing for the diploid genotype Aa was intermediate between Aaa and AAa. These results provide evidence of incomplete dominance of the A allele at the autoflowering locus. Plants of genotype Aaa flowered 32 to 40 days earlier in the field than genotypes of AA, 15 days earlier than genotype Aa, and were ready for harvest by the second week of August in Connecticut. Plants of Aaa were as tall as other diploid and triploid photoperiod-sensitive genotypes studied, which suggests that they have similar yield potential. The use of tetraploid autoflowering (aaaa) maternal plants in combination with diploid photoperiod-sensitive (AA) pollen parents to produce Aaa genotype seed is a reliable approach for developing early-flowering cultivars of cannabis for flower production purposes.

Open Access

Interest in native landscape plants to support pollinators has increased. Most native plants sold by nurseries are cultivars, and some consumer and conservation groups question the suitability of native cultivars to support pollinators. In 2017 and 2018, insect pollinator visitation was quantified for six native shrub species and one or more cultivars of each species (Aronia melanocarpa, A. melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM012’ Ground Hog®, A. melanocarpa ‘UCONNAM165’ Low Scape Mound®, Clethra alnifolia, C. alnifolia ‘Hummingbird’, C. alnifolia ‘Ruby Spice’, Dasiphora fruticosa, D. fruticosa ‘Goldfinger’, D. fruticosa ‘Pink Beauty’, Hydrangea arborescens, H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’, Kalmia latifolia, K. latifolia ‘Sarah’, Physocarpus opulifolius, and P. opulifolius ‘Monlo’ Diabolo®). Insects were identified into 12 categories (Apis mellifera, Bombus spp., Andrenidae, Halictidae, Megachilidae, other bees, Lepidoptera, Syrphidae, other flies, wasps, Coleoptera, and other insects). The number of inflorescences and insect visitation was similar for C. alnifolia and its cultivars, and the compact cultivar Hummingbird had the greatest floral density. A. melanocarpa had more total visitors of Andrenidae than both of its compact cultivars because it was larger and produced more inflorescences. Compact Aronia cultivars and the straight species were mostly similar for Andrenidae visitation when compared on a per-inflorescence basis. D. fruticosa had more visitors of Bombus spp. and Megachilidae than both of its cultivars. These insects may have been less attracted to ‘Pink Beauty’ because of its pink flower color and ‘Goldfinger’ because of its wider flowers, which result from it being a tetraploid. H. arborescens ‘Annabelle’ had one-third the number of Bombus spp. visitors as H. arborescens because ‘Annabelle’ produces >50% fewer fertile florets. P. opulifolius ‘Monlo’ attracted more syrphids than P. opulifolius possibly because flowers contrasted more strongly with the reddish purple foliage of ‘Monlo’ than with the green foliage of the straight species. Insect visitation was similar for K. latifolia and K. latifolia ‘Sarah’. Based on this work, we determined that native shrub cultivars are not universally less or more attractive to pollinators and must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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Comptonia peregrina is a desirable native ornamental plant for challenging landscapes, but it cannot be produced using conventional softwood stem cuttings. We demonstrate that C. peregrina can be successfully propagated using young shoots (6 to 8 cm in length) recently emerged from rhizomes taken as cuttings. Although significantly more cuttings rooted using intermittent mist (99%) than propagation dome (70%), cuttings under propagation domes had greater shoot counts. Due to the drier and warmer conditions under propagation domes, cutting shoot tips were killed, which relieved apical dominance and stimulated lateral budbreak. Cuttings rooted under propagation domes produced plants having greater height, width, and size after 90 d than cuttings rooted under intermittent mist. Treatment of cuttings with talc-based rooting hormone at 3000 and 8000 ppm indole-3-butyric acid (IBA) significantly improved rooting percentage and shoot count over untreated cuttings. Cuttings treated with 8000 ppm IBA produced the most roots. Container plants grown from cuttings and pruned to 7 cm in height produced twice as many shoots as unpruned plants. Using cuttings taken from young shoots (6 to 8 cm) produced from rhizomes, 3000 or 8000 ppm IBA, and intermittent mist nursery growers can achieve rooting percentages for C. peregrina above the 80% benchmark preferred for commercial plant production.

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