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Julie A. Plummer, T. Eddie Welsh, and Allan M. Armitage

Zantedeschia aethiopica (L.) K. Spreng. `Childsiana' is a dwarf white calla lily with potential for pot culture. Nine stages of flower development from macrobud to senescence were described and shelf life under a low-light postproduction environment was examined. Flowers at the macrobud stage opened in the postproduction environment. Plants with flowers at the macrobud stage (Stage 1) and plants with spathes fully opened but before pollen shed (Stage 5) had shelf lives of 26 and 11 days, respectively.

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Allan B. Woolf, John Clemens, and Julie A. Plummer

Six concentrations of ethephon were applied to plants of `Donation' and `Anticipation' Camellia (L.) at two times (late summer and autumn) and three times (late summer, autumn, and midwinter) of the year, respectively. Abscission of leaves and floral and vegetative buds was determined. Sensitivity to ethephon varied markedly among plant organs. Greater sensitivity of floral buds indicated that ethephon could be used to selectively remove these with minimal abscission of other plant organs. Proportion of abscised organs varied with cultivar and time of application. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl)phosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Allan B. Woolf, John Clemens, and Julie A. Plummer

The influence of temperature and leaf maturity on ethephon-promoted abscission was examined by simultaneously applying either ethylene (10.5 μl·liter-1) or ethephon (0 to 4 ml·liter-1) to potted Camellia plants at four constant temperatures (10 to 30C). The abscission rate (time to 50% abscission) and extent of abscission of leaves, and vegetative and floral buds was measured. Increased temperature promoted the rate and extent of ethephon-promoted abscission and increased ethylene-promoted abscission rate of all organs of Camelliu. Lower temperatures reduced the abscission rate after ethephon application more than that following ethylene application. Sensitivity to ethephon was greater for leaves on newly extending shoots, although once shoot elongation and leaf expansion had ceased, leaves became less sensitive. Ethephon sensitivity increased progressively with maturation over the following 2 years. Optimal thinning of floral buds. at low temperatures required high ethephon concentrations, while at high temperatures, low ethephon concentrations were optimal. The influence on abscission of the time of year when ethephon was applied, is suggested to be due to tissue maturity, which affects tissue ethylene sensitivity, and temperature, which affects ethylene release from ethephon and tissue response to ethylene. Chemical name used: (2-chloroethyl) phosphoric acid (ethephon).

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Keith A. Funnell, Errol W. Hewett, Ian J. Warrington, and Julie A. Plummer

Dry matter accumulation and partitioning in plants of Zantedeschia Spreng. `Best Gold' aff. Z. pentlandii (Wats.) Wittm. (syn. Richardia pentlandii Wats.) were quantified under a range of temperature and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) regimes using plant growth analysis. The relative rate of dry matter accumulation [relative growth rate (RGRM), g·g-1·d-1] was highly correlated with the partitioning of the daily increment of dry matter into leaf tissue [leaf matter partitioning (LMP), g·d-1 per g·d-1]. In contrast, a poor correlation existed between RGRM and net assimilation rate (NAR, g·m-2·d-1). Maximum values of RGRM increased linearly with increasing temperature (from 13 to 28 °C), with a base temperature of 2.1 ± 2.7 °C. The optimum temperature for growth was PPF dependent with maximum total plant dry mass occurring under high PPF (694 μmol·m-2·s-1) at 25 °C. However, as the plant responded to PPF by altering LMP, final total plant dry mass was actually greater under the low PPF regime (348 μmol·m-2·s-1) at temperatures <22 °C. The optimum temperature for dry matter accumulation was close to the average daily air temperature during the growing season for the natural habitat of the parent species. Similarly, the greater dry matter accumulation under the combination of either low PPF and cooler temperatures or high PPF and warmer temperatures was paralleled by the diversity of PPF habitats in the natural open grassland and forest margin the parent species occupies. It is therefore suggested that Zantedeschia `Best Gold' is well adapted to optimize growth under these environmental conditions.

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Keith A. Funnell, Errol W. Hewett, Julie A. Plummer, and Ian J. Warrington

Photosynthetic activity of individual leaves of Zantedeschia Spreng. `Best Gold' aff. Z. pentlandii (Wats.) Wittm. [syn. Richardia pentlandii Wats.] (`Best Gold'), were quantified with leaf expansion and diurnally, under a range of temperature and photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) regimes. Predictive models incorporating PPF, day temperature, and percentage leaf area expansion accounted for 78% and 81% of variation in net photosynthetic rate (Pn) before, and postattainment of, 75% maximum leaf area, respectively. Minimal changes in Pn occurred during the photoperiod when environmental conditions were stable. Maximum Pn (10.9μmol·m-2·s-1 or 13.3 μmol·g-1·s-1) occurred for plants grown under high PPF (694 μmol·m-2·s-1) and day temperature (28 °C). Acclimation of Pn was less than complete, with any gain through a greater light-saturated photosynthetic rate (Pmax) at high PPF also resulting in a reduction in quantum yield. Similarly, any gain in acclimation through increased quantum yield under low PPF occurred concurrently with reduced Pmax. It was concluded that Zantedeschia `Best Gold' is a shade tolerant selection, adapted to optimize photosynthetic rate under the climate of its natural habitat, by not having obligate adaptation to sun or shade habitats.

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Paul T. Austin, Errol W. Hewett, Dominique Noiton, and Julie A. Plummer

Integer values used to represent apricot (Prunus armeniaca L.) flower bud growth stages in a phenological scale were adjusted by a simple technique based on cumulative counts of bud observations. Adjusted stage values on a new continuous scale were calculated so that differences between consecutive values were proportional to the frequency with which buds were observed in each growth stage class during the entire assessment period. This meant that adjusted scale values were linearly related to bud development rate at 20 °C. The method was applied to a scale describing flower development from budbreak to petal fall for three cultivars of apricot growing under orchard conditions.