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Keith A. Funnell

Containerized plants of Scadoxus multiflorus subsp. katharinae (Baker) Friis & Nordal were forced to anthesis under three environments of contrasting temperature. Flowering performance, growing degree-days (GDD) requirements for timing of anthesis, and the influence of cold storage (12 °C for 4 weeks) before forcing were evaluated. Total forcing time from the beginning of the experiment until anthesis decreased with warmer forcing environment, ranging between 129 and 86 days. Across all forcing environments, use of GDD was readily able to explain differences in time to anthesis resulting from both cold storage and forcing. Using a base temperature of 5 °C, GDD requirements between beginning of the experiment and anthesis was 1166 ± 124 GDD, emergence of the vegetative shoot and anthesis 1075 ± 118 GDD, and appearance of the tips of the leaf lamina and anthesis 883 ± 91 GDD. Using a base temperature of 11.5 °C, GDD requirements between appearance of tip of the involucre and anthesis was 180 ± 44 GDD, and the whole involucre being visible and anthesis 144 ± 42 GDD. In the next year, validation of the GDD requirements was achieved by subsequently forcing a second population of plants to anthesis for a specific date.

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Keith A. Funnell and Royal D. Heins

The postharvest quality of potted Asiflorum lily `Donau' (Lilium hybrid) was evaluated after plants were sprayed with 0, 50, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (BA equivalent) of Promalin (GA4+7 to BA ratio was 1:1) or Accel (GA4+7 to BA ratio 1:10) and stored at 2 to 3 °C for 0, 10, or 20 days. As storage was prolonged, more leaves senesced once plants were removed for evaluation. Leaf senescence declined with increasing concentrations of either Promalin or Accel, but Promalin was more effective. Application of 250 mg·L-1 Promalin completely eliminated leaf senescence over the 20-day shelf-life evaluation period, irrespective of duration of cold storage. The treatments did not affect flower bud opening or plant height. Chemical names used: gibberellin (GA4+7); benzyladenine (BA).

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Keith A. Funnell and Royal D. Heins

The postharvest quality of potted Asiflorum lily `Donau' (Lilium hybrid) was evaluated after plants were sprayed with 0, 50, 250, or 500 mg·L-1 (BA equivalent) of Promalin (GA4+7 to BA ratio was 1:1) or Accel (GA4+7 to BA ratio 1:10) and stored at 2 to 3 °C for 0, 10, or 20 days. As storage was prolonged, more leaves senesced once plants were removed for evaluation. Leaf senescence declined with increasing concentrations of either Promalin or Accel, but Promalin was more effective. Application of 250 mg·L-1 Promalin completely eliminated leaf senescence over the 20-day shelf-life evaluation period, irrespective of duration of cold storage. The treatments did not affect flower bud opening or plant height. Chemical names used: gibberellin (GA4+7); benzyladenine (BA).

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Keith A. Funnell, Bruce R. MacKay and Ning Huang

Vernalization and growing degree-day requirements of Thalictrum delavayi `Hewitt's Double' were determined to improve the production scheduling of this cut flower crop. Two-year-old crowns of T. delavayi `Hewitt's Double', lifted in the fall, were exposed to cold storage for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 weeks at 8 ± 1°C. After storage, the containerized plants were grown at Massey Univ., Palmerston North (40°20.S) in a greenhouse heated at 15°C and vented at 20°C, under a natural photoperiod (11 h increasing to 13 h) plus a 4-h night interruption between 2200 and 0200 HR. As buds continued to develop during storage at 8°C, growing degree-days calculations were made over both storage and greenhouse forcing periods. All plants flowered, but T. delavayi `Hewitt's Double' nevertheless showed a quantitative vernalization requirement, being fully saturated after 6 weeks of cold storage at 8°C. With a base temperature of 0°C, time to flowering reduced from 3338 degree-days without vernalization to an average 2804 degree-days subsequent to the saturation of the vernalization response (6 to 15 weeks of vernalization). Flower yield averaged between three and five stems per plant, with stem lengths ranging between 140 and 200 cm. Differences in flower yield and quality among storage durations were minor and not commercially significant.

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Jianyu Chen, Keith A. Funnell and Ed R. Morgan

Observations of leaf number accumulation rate (LNAR) and light integrals (DLI) were used to develop a predictive model for time to flower for a novel hybrid of Limonium sinuatum (L.) Mill. × Limonium perezii (Stapf) Hubb. Plants were established in a temperature-controlled greenhouse at seven planting times from fall to late spring. Long days were maintained using daylength extension lighting. Two light regimes, full sun or 50% shade, were also used. DLI was highly correlated with the time to appearance of the first visible flower bud, explaining in excess of 80% of the variation. When combined with plant growth variables describing either LNAR or rates of increase in groundcover index, a second model was able to predict the date of first visible flowers and accounted for more variation than DLI alone. Daily average temperature (DAT) did not significantly contribute to variation in time to first visible flower because temperatures were uniform between successive plantings at 18 to 21.7 °C. However, DAT was significant for the period from visible flower through to flower harvest maturity. Growers of these hybrids for cut flowers can therefore use historical records of DLI to determine planting dates to schedule flowering. Once planting has occurred, by measuring actual DLI, DAT, and leaf number per plant, growers can use the second model to more accurately predict the dates for visible flowers and flower harvest.

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Ning Huang, Keith A. Funnell and Bruce R. MacKay

Vernalization and growing degree-day (GDD) requirements of Thalictrum delavayi Franch. `Hewitt's Double' were investigated by exposing crowns to cold storage for 0, 3, 6, 9, 12, or 15 weeks at 8 °C, and subsequently planting in a heated greenhouse under long-day conditions. Cumulative vernalization of crowns was complete after 6 weeks of cold storage at 8 °C. The time to flower, including time at 8 °C, was 3338 GDD (base temperature of 0 °C) without vernalization and 2802 GDD after complete vernalization. Commercial recommendations for rapid and predictable flowering of T. delavayi `Hewitt's Double' should include cold storage of crowns for a minimum of 6 weeks at 8 °C as part of the 2802 GDD during vernalization and forcing.

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Uttara C. Samarakoon, Keith A. Funnell, David J. Woolley, Barbara A. Ambrose and Ed R. Morgan

Shoot productivity and overwintering survival of gentians (Gentiana sp.) are determined by the initiation and subsequent development of crown bud clusters. Understanding of the anatomical features and origins of crown buds and bud clusters, and plant ontogeny, the morphological features of crown buds, and their associated development is required to achieve manipulation of bud initiation, emergence, and development. Anatomical features of the crown bud clusters were examined using both light and confocal microscopy using hybrids of Gentiana triflora × G. scabra. The initiation of bud clusters presented characteristics typical of adventitious buds in terms of their origin and presence of external vascular connection to the parental tissue. In contrast, crown buds forming subsequently within the cluster developed as axillary buds within that initial bud, collectively forming on a compact stem with minimal internode elongation. Stem elongation within the cluster after application of gibberellic acid enabled identification of a hierarchical arrangement of buds within the cluster with one bud at each node and arranged spirally at 90°. Arrangements of buds within the cluster were different from the opposite decussate phyllotaxis in floral shoots with two axillary buds at each node. Based on the current study, a crown bud cluster originated from a first bud initial, which was adventitious followed by development of subsequent crown buds within the cluster as axillary buds from this first bud initially with a single bud developing at each node.

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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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Uttara C. Samarakoon, David J. Woolley, Ed R. Morgan and Keith A. Funnell

Cut flower productivity and quality of gentian is associated with growth and development of crown buds. Experiments were carried out with the gentian cultivar Showtime Diva to identify the response to treatments that break dormancy [cold temperature (chilling), gibberellic acid (GA3)] applied at different stages of development of crown buds (plants with nonemerged crown buds, shoots recently emerged, or shoots emerged and elongated). The comparative growth potential of crown buds within the cluster was also investigated. At the stages of development examined, the application of GA3 (100 ppm) increased emergence of crown buds as shoots, leading to development of more flowering shoots. A similar response was observed with exposure to cold, but only on plants with nonemerged crown buds. Shoot emergence increased in response to increased duration of cold from 0 to 42 days (5 °C). Both chilling and GA3 could potentially be used to reduce the duration to, and spread of, harvest maturity if applied before shoot emergence. The hierarchical relationship of buds in crown bud clusters led to differential responses to application of GA3. Buds ontogenetically positioned at the proximal end of the bud cluster took a similar duration to reach shoot emergence or harvest maturity. For buds located at the distal end there was a positive correlation between ontogenetic bud position and the duration to reach shoot maturity. Shoot length and number of nodes at harvest maturity showed slight negative correlations with the position of the bud in the bud cluster. The results provide an explanation for possible sources of the variation in quality and quantity of floral shoots, and spread in time to harvest maturity within a single plant, and with development stage.