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  • Author or Editor: Richard Henny x
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ZZ (Zamioculcas zamiifolia), a member of the family Araceae, is emerging as an important foliage plant due to its aesthetic appearance, ability to tolerate low light and drought, and resistance to diseases and pests. However, little information is available regarding its propagation, production, and use. This report presents relevant botanical information and results of our four-year evaluation of this plant to the ornamental plant industry.

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Pothos (Epipremnum aureum Linden & Andre), a climbing vine with leathery, shiny-surfaced, solid green or variegated heart-shaped leaves, is widely grown as an ornamental tropical foliage plant in hanging baskets or on poles as climbers for interiorscaping. Since pothos easily develops roots from nodes, its propagation is mainly from eye cuttings. Eye cuttings, however, frequently carry diseases from stock plants into production greenhouses. The objectives of this study were to investigate if somatic embryogenesis could be induced from a common cultivar `Golden Pothos' and germinated somatic embryos could be a means of clean propagule production. Using a modified MS medium supplemented with 2 mg·L-1 CPPU or TDZ and 0.2 mg·L-1 NAA or 0.5 mg·L-1 2,4-D, somatic embryos formed directly at cut edges of leaf explants, around petiole and stem explant ends, and along their side surfaces. Most somatic embryos maturated and grew into multiple buds or shoots; some of them developed into whole plants on the original medium. Somatic embryos also germinated and developed into plants on MS medium containing 2 mg·L-1 Zeatin and 0.2 mg·L-1 NAA, MS or 1/2 MS containing 2 mg·L-1 BA with or without 0.2 mg·L-1 NAA. Shoots elongated and roots grew on PGR-free medium. Plantlets grew healthy in shaded greenhouses after transferring to soilless substrates. This study suggests that the established method of somatic embryogenesis can be used to generate disease-free propagules of pothos for production.

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Injection of 100 or 200 ppm 6-furfurylaminopurine (kinetin) into detached Lilium longiflorum (Easter lily) styles before pollination removed the differential pollen tube growth attributable to the self-incompatibility reaction so that both compatible and incompatible pollen tubes reached lengths typical of compatible tubes. Prepollination injections of 50 ppm kinetin produced variable results while injection of 1 or 10 ppm kinetin had no effect on pollen tube growth.

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Homalomena `Emerald Gem' is an important ornamental foliage plant and widely used for interior plantscaping. Current propagation of this cultivar has been primarily carried out through in vitro culture by organogenesis; regeneration through somatic embryogenesis has not been documented. This report describes successful plant regeneration via direct somatic embryogenesis from explants of different organs. Somatic embryos formed at and around the cut surface of petiole, spathe, and peduncle explants. Embryos also appeared at the base between expanded ovaries of the spadix segment, and around midrib of leaf explants. The optimal treatments for somatic embryo occurrence from petiole, spathe, and peduncle explants were MS medium containing 0.2 mg/L NAA or 0.5 mg/L 2, 4-D with 2.0 mg/L CPPU, and for spadix explants were MS medium with 0.5 mg/L PAA and 2.5 mg/L TDZ. Somatic embryos appeared 6 to 8 weeks after culture and formed large embryo clumps in 3 to 4 months. Somatic embryos produced more secondary embryos and geminated on induction medium. Multiple shoot development and plant regeneration occurred from somatic embryo clusters on MS medium without hormone or with 2 mg/L BA and 0.2 mg/L NAA. The regenerated plants grew vigorously after transplanting to a soilless container substrate in a shaded greenhouse.

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A simple and effective method for quantification of leaf variegation was developed. Using a digital camera or a scanner, the image of a variegated leaf was imported into a computer and saved to a file. Total pixels of the entire leaf area and total pixels of each color within the leaf were determined using an Adobe Photoshop graphics editor. Thus, the percentage of each color's total pixel count in relation to the total pixel count of the entire leaf was obtained. Total leaf area was measured through a leaf area meter; the exact area of this color was calculated in reference to the pixel percentage obtained from Photoshop. Using this method, variegated leaves of ‘Mary Ann’ aglaonema (Aglaonema x), ‘Ornate’ calathea (Calathea ornate), ‘Yellow Petra’ codiaeum (Codiaeum variegatum), ‘Florida Beauty’ dracaena (Dracaena surculosa), ‘Camille’ dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia maculata), and ‘Triostar’ stromanthe (Stromanthe sanguinea) were quantified. After a brief training period, this method was used by five randomly selected individuals to quantify the variegation of the same set of leaves. The results were highly reproducible no matter who performed the quantification. This method, which the authors have chosen to call the quantification of leaf variegation (QLV) method, can be used for monitoring changes in colors and variegation patterns incited by abiotic and biotic stresses as well as quantifying differences in variegation patterns of plants developed in breeding programs.

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