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Marietta M. Loehrlein

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Marietta Loehrlein and Richard Craig

Floral initiation signals the commencement of sexual reproduction in angiosperms. In many plant species this developmental phase is controlled by photoperiod. However, it may be regulated by other factors, such as plant age or specific temperature or irradiance requirements. Floral initiation occurs in Pelargonium ×domesticum (regal Pelargoniums) in response to exposure to cool (7–12°C) temperatures for about 4–6 weeks, or to cumulative irradiance at 18–23°C. Broad genetic variability exists so that floral initiation in some cultivars is almost completely controlled by temperature, while in others it is almost completely controlled by cumulative irradiance. Among the latter group of genotypes, genetic variability exists for the amount of irradiance required. The purpose of this study was to determine the precise irradiance requirements for nine commercially important cultivars. The cultivars varied significantly in their response to irradiance with respect to floral initiation. Low irradiance requiring genotypes developed visible (5 mm) buds with as little as 250 mol of total cumulative irradiance; floral initiation in these cultivars occurred with only 50 mol of irradiance. High irradiance requiring genotypes still had vegetative meristems after 300 mol of total cumulative irradiance. Further studies were conducted on `Majestic', chosen for its high irradiance requirement. The objective of this study was to determine whether cool temperatures (7–12°C) or heat stress (23–28°C) could replace the irradiance effect. The results indicated that neither of these environmental conditions could replace the effects of moderate temperature (18–23°C) and high cumulative irradiance in this cultivar.

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Marietta Loehrlein and Sandy Siqueira

Coreopsis rosea is important as a landscape plant and is of some impor-tance for restoration of native species. In both situations it is important to understand the breeding system so that the pollination process may be controlled for optimal seed production. The study of the incompatibility system is important to seed production. In commercial crops, seeds may be products of open pollination or F1 hybrids. In the former, genetic variability exists. In conservation and recovery programs of local flora, seeds with genetic variability are desirable. In development of commercial crops, uniform seeds and plants are desirable. Regardless of whether seeds will ultimately be used for commercial crops or for species restoration, an understanding of self-incompatibility will allow the pollination process to be manipulated for optimal seed production. The purpose of this research was to investigate the sexual reproduction mode in Coreopsis rosea. The objectives were to determine whether Coreopsis rosea operates with a self-incompatibility system, and, if so, to discover whether it is a sporophytic or gametophytic mode. The sporophytic form of self-incompatibility has been found in other plants in the Asteraceae family, but no one has studied self-incompatibility in Coreopsis rosea. The purpose of this research was to identify the self-incompatibility system in Coreopsis rosea. A series of self- and cross-pollinations were made in situ, and in vivo pollinations were made and the pistils studied under the microscope. Results indicate that Coreopsis rosea is self-incompatible and operates under the sporophytic mode.

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Marietta Loehrlein and Richard Craig

Nine cultivars of Pelargonium × domesticum representing three germplasm sources were evaluated for the effect of daily light integral on floral initiation. Plants were grown at four daily light integrals: 5, 10, 15, or 20 mols/day for a 16-h photoperiod in environmental growth chambers at constant 15.5 °C. Meristems were examined at 50-mol intervals (0 to 350 mols) for morphological changes associated with floral initiation. Two phenotypes were identified, cultivars with an association between floral initiation and irradiance and those with association between floral initiation and chronological time. Genotypic variation was observed among the cultivars of each phenotype.

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Marietta Loehrlein and Sandy Siqueira

Landscape and garden use of Coreopsisrosea has been growing recently. With the introduction of the new varieties of Coreopsisrosea `Sweet Dreams' and `Limerock Ruby', there are increased opportunities for commercial sales. While plants can be propagated by vegetative means, seed production is generally less expensive, seed can be stored, and hybrid development depends on seed production. As a result, it is beneficial to understand the reproductive process of the plant. The purpose of this research was to investigate the reproductive development of Coreopsisrosea. This research also seeks to identify, describe and record inflorescence morphological characters, which could be useful in plant systematic and phylogeny studies. To this end, the anthesis process of pink tickseed, Coreopsisrosea Nutt., was studied in 100 inflorescences from 10 plants. Inflorescences were tagged when they were first visible and measured daily for a month. The following measurements were taken: number of ray flowers, inflorescence diameter, diameter of the disc floret cluster (head), timing of anthesis, presence of pollen, and the longevity of opened flowers. The inflorescence anthesis process was 19.8 (±1.6) days long and was subdivided into 13 stages of development. During the 20 days of inflorescence anthesis, the flower was open 27.5% of the time (5.4 days). When the disc florets started to open, they did so from the outer layer of the cluster to the center of the cluster; therefore, florets in the head did not mature at the same time. Micrographs were taken using a dissecting microscope (Cobra dynascope) to illustrate the entire process.

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Marietta Loehrlein and Richard Craig

Floral ontogeny of two cultivars of Pelargonium ×domesticum L.H. Bailey, (regal pelargonium) `Duchess' and `Jennifer', was examined. Plants of both cultivars were grown together in a growth chamber at 15.5 °C with a photosynthetic photon flux of 10 mol·m-2·d-1. Meristems were examined at 5-day intervals over an experimental period of 170 days. The initial vegetative meristem was convex with leaf primordia initiated on either side in an alternate pattern. Early floral initiation was characterized by formation of two clefts on either side of the meristem. Between the clefts new meristems developed. Proliferation of meristems continued until numerous meristems were organized in a cluster arrangement at the apex of the shoot. New meristems lacked leaf primordia and would develop into flowers. Floral organ primordia on a floral meristem were initiated in a succession of four whorls: sepals, petals, androecia, and gynoecium.

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Marietta M. Loehrlein

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Marietta M. Loehrlein