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  • Author or Editor: R.L. Geneve x
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Six seed lots of purple coneflower were purchased from four commercial seed sources and evaluated for germination in either light or darkness in combination with two temperature regimes (constant 27C vs. alternating 30C for 8 hours and 20C for 16 hours). Seed lot differences accounted for the majority of variation, with two seed lots exhibiting high (81% to 91%) germination and the remaining seed lots having 39% to 66% germination. There was no effect of light on germination, regardless of the seed lot. However, alternating temperatures improved germination in one of the low-germination seed lots. Seed size and inflorescence position did not affect seed germination. Seed harvested at physiological maturity (maximum seed dry weight), but before drying had occurred, had a higher germination percentage than seeds harvested after desiccation, and they maintained a higher germination percentage even after 1 year in storage.

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Clonal propagation of pawpaw is currently limited to budding and grafting. A tissue-culture system to rapidly produce clonal material would be valuable for both production and preservation of germplasm. Forced scion wood, shoots from root cuttings, and seedlings were explant sources for ontologically mature, intermediate, and juvenile ages, respectively. Preliminary data indicated that nodal explants had more rapid adventitious shoot formation than shoot tip explants. Disinfestation protocols were developed for each explant source. Nodal explants were cultured on MS medium supplemented with 10 μM BA and 0.1 μM TDZ. Within 3 weeks, 60% of the seedling explants had expanded axillary buds, while no bud expansion was observed for explants of either the intermediate or mature sources. By 6 weeks, seedling axillary shoots had elongated and were suitable for subculture. By 8 weeks, multiple adventitious buds and shoots had formed on all seedling explants. At this same time, axillary shoots began to elongate on intermediate source explants, but mature source explants appeared to be recalcitrant. Explant exudation caused medium darkening, but, by reducing the transfer interval from 4 to 2 weeks, discoloration was minimized. Mature source explants were maintained in culture and after ≈7 months, axillary bud expansion occurred in a small percentage of these explants.

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Damage and degradation of cellular proteins is observed during seed deterioration due to aging. L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase (EC 2.1.1.77) is an enzyme hypothesized to play a role in limiting and repairing aging-induced damage of proteins. Tomato seeds (Lycopersicon esculentum `New Yorker') were assayed for changes in L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase activity during accelerated aging and after osmotic priming. Accelerated aging of seeds for 1 to 4 days at 45°C and 100% humidity reduced germination from 94% to 71%, the mean time of germination (MTG) increased from 2.4 to 5.8 days and was accompanied by a correlative decrease in L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase activity R 2 = 0.90. Aged and untreated seeds were primed for 7 days at 20°C in darkness using aerated solutions of 3% KNO3 or polyethylene glycol 8000 (PEG) with equivalent osmotic potential (–1.25 MPa). Priming with KNO3 decreased the MTG but not germination percentage for untreated seeds. Priming did not affect L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase activity in untreated seeds but restored activity in aged seeds primed in KNO3 to levels near that of untreated seeds. Priming with PEG did not effectively improve the MTG or increase L-isoaspartyl methyltransferase activity. During germination, enzyme activity remained constant for 48 hours post-imbibition and then declined suggesting the enzyme was developmentally regulated and inactivated or degraded as radicle emergence occurred.

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Little scientific information is available describing morphological development of pawpaw during seed germination. To provide this information, a study was designed to outline important developmental stages and describe seedling characteristics within each stage. Stratified pawpaw seeds were sown in vermiculite and germinated at 25°C in a growth chamber. Ten seedlings were randomly chosen and destructively harvested at 5-day intervals starting at radicle protrusion. Length (mm), fresh and dry weight, and percentage of total dry weight were determined for seedling components. Pawpaw seeds have a small rudimentary embryo with all food reserves stored in a ruminate endosperm. Dry weight measurements showed a dramatic reallocation of reserves from the storage tissue to developing seedling parts. Initial embryo length was less than 3 mm, but within 70 days seedlings exceeded 350 mm. Twelve days after planting, simultaneous radicle and cotyledon growth occurred (3.4 and 3.0 mm, respectively), but neither hypocotyl nor epicotyl was visible. Radicle protrusion was observed at 15 days with radicle, cotyledon and hypocotyl lengths increasing to 4.4, 4.0, and 3.2 mm, respectively. Endosperm comprised 99.1% of total dry weight at this stage. The hypocotyl hook emerged after 30 days and endosperm comprised 76.1% of total dry weight. Cotyledons reached maximum length (29.0 mm) at day 40 and the epicotyl was discernible. At 55 days, the seed coat containing cotyledons and residual endosperm abscised and the average radicle, hypocotyl and epicotyl lengths were 182.0, 61.1, and 7.3 mm, respectively. It is suggested that the cotyledons primary function is absorption of food reserves from the endosperm for transfer to the developing seedling.

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High germination seed lots of purple coneflower [Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench] were evaluated for laboratory germination following osmotic priming or chilling stratification. Compared to nontreated seeds, osmotic priming at 25C in salts (KNO3 + K3PO4; 1:1, w/w) or polyethylene glycol 4000 (PEG) increased early (3-day) germination percentage at 27C of all seed lots, and improved total (10-day) germination percentage of low-germination seed lots. Total germination percentage was unaffected or increased by priming for 4 days compared to 8 days, and by priming at –1.0 MPa compared to –0.5 MPa (except for one low-germination seed lot). Chilling stratification in water at 5 or 10C increased early and total germination of all seed lots, except for that same lot, compared to nontreated seeds. Total germination percentage was unaffected or increased by stratification at 10C rather than at 5C. Neither extending stratification ≥20 days nor lowering osmotic potential with PEG during stratification improved total germination percentage.

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The North American pawpaw [Asimina triloba (L.) Dunal], a temperate member of the Annonaceae, is a deciduous woody tree with ornamental value and has merit as a fruit crop. Anatomical studies of pawpaw seed revealed a small, linear embryo that does not change in length during cold or warm stratification. Radicle and cotyledon growth from planting until radicle protrusion was concurrent and at about the same rate. Cotyledons grew through a specialized channel of cells extending above the cotyledon tips, but never emerged from the seed. The extended period of time required for the development of the cotyledons delayed seedling emergence more than 50 days. The cotyledons appear to be haustorial and translocate storage material from the endosperm to the growing embryo. At the time of epicotyl elongation, the radicle and developing root system were well developed and comprised 81 % of the seedling biomass. Seedling development could be divided into four distinct stages, including radicle protrusion, hypocotyl emergence, epicotyl elongation, and seedcoat abscission.

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A capillary mat-mist system was developed to provide near constant media water contents at differing quantities of mist. Media water contents were reduced by increasing the capillary mat height above a constant water table maintained at bench level. Increased tensions from 0 to 10 cm above the water table reduced water content in Oasis, rockwool, and peat-perlite by 35.4%, 27.6%, and 17.4%, respectively. There was no difference in water content for each medium when the mist quantity ranged between 600 and 1800 mL·m-2·h-1, except when the capillary mat was at 9 cm above the water table and mist volume was 300 mL·m-2·h-1. Chrysanthemum cuttings rooted best when water content was highest regardless of media. Using the peat-perlite medium, water content had the greatest impact on rooting when the mist volume was low (600 mL·m-2·h-1). Relative water content of cuttings was lowest during the first 5 days of sticking and both reduced media water content and mist quantity resulted in the lowest internal water status for the cuttings.

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America the Beautiful and Urban and Community Forestry grant programs, part of the expanded Forestry Title of the 1990 Farm Bill, authorized funding to encourage citizen involvement in creating and supporting long-term and sustained urban and community forestry programs. U.K. Woody Ornamental scientists and the KY Division of Forestry Urban Forestry Coordinator planned and implemented the following educational programs to this end: 1) comprehensive training manual on Managing Trees in the Urban Environment, including a guide for the care and protection of trees, grant application, and managing of volunteers; 2) three publications on small, medium-sized, and large trees for urban spaces; 3) interactive hypertext version of tree selector publications; 4) statewide workshops on Trees in Communities; 5) annual statewide Urban Forestry Short Course; 5) Plant Health Care and Hazard Trees workshops for arborists. The comprehensive program brings city planners, government personnel, public work's personnel, arborists, builders and developers, horticulturists and landscape architects, tree board members, homeowners' associations, Master Gardeners, and other community volunteers together to support quality programming for preservation and enhancement of valuable natural resource of trees.

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