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Roar Moe, John E Erwin and Will Carlson

The role of irradiance and/or ethylene in inducing mortality and self-branching disorders in Gerbera jamesonii Bolus. seedlings was studied. Seedling mortality increased from 8% to 57% when seed was covered with vermiculite than left uncovered during germination. Supplemental lighting for 30 days after germination decreased seedling mortality and decreased the time to visible bud compared to seed germinated under natural light only. In subsequent experiments, seeds were germinated and then seedlings were water logged or sprayed with ethephon (0.69, 3.45, or 17.25 mM) at four different stages of seedling development. Half of the ethephon-treated seedlings were sprayed with silver thiosulfate (STS). Seedling mortality was greatest after cotyledon expansion but before expansion of the first tree leaf. The highest ethephon concentration caused reduced seedling dry weight after 42 days. Applying STS did not overcome self-branching or meristem necrosis.

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Grete Waaseth, Roar Moe, Royal D. Heins and Svein O. Grimstad

Varying photothermal ratios (PTR) were supplied to Salvia ×superba Stapf `Blaukönigin' during pre-inductive vegetative development with the exception of a short germination period under uniform conditions. In addition, both unvernalized plants and plants receiving a saturating vernalization treatment of 6 weeks at 5 °C were given two photosynthetic photon flux (PPF) levels (50 or 200 μmol·m-2·s-1) during subsequent inductive 16-hour long days. There were no effects of PTR treatments during vegetative development on subsequent flowering. However, the higher PPF level during inductive long days significantly accelerated floral evocation in unvernalized plants, lowering the leaf number at flowering. The effect was practically negligent after the vernalization requirement was saturated. In a second experiment, varying periods (4, 7, 10, and 14 days or until anthesis) at a PPF of 200 μmol·m-2·s-1 during 20-hour days were given at the beginning of a long-day treatment, either with or without preceding vernalization treatment. Flowering percentage increased considerably as the period at 200 μmol·m-2·s-1 was extended compared with plants grown at a lower PPF of 50 μmol·m-2·s-1. However, the leaf number on flowering plants was not affected, except in unvernalized plants receiving the highest PPF continuously until anthesis, where leaf number was reduced by almost 50%. We propose that the PPF-dependent flowering is facilitated either by the rate of ongoing assimilation or rapid mobilization of stored carbohydrates at the time of evocation. Abortion of floral primordia under the lower PPF (50 μmol·m-2·s-1) irrespective of vernalization treatment indicates that the assimilate requirement for flower bud development is independent of the mechanism for floral evocation.

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John E. Erwin, Royal D. Heins and Roar Moe

Fuchsia × hybrids `Dollar Princess' plants were grown under 35 day/night temperature (DT/NT) environments ranging from 10 to 30C over 2 years. Plants were grown under short days (SD) (9-hour 15-minute photoperiod) or long days (LD) (9-hour 15-minute photoperiod plus a 4-hour night interruption) within each environment. The influence of temperature on Fuchsia stem elongation and leaf expansion was best described by the relationship or difference (DIF) between DT and NT (DT - NT) rather than actual DT and NT between 10 and 25C. Both internode length and leaf area increased linearly as DIF increased from - 15 to + 15C with DT and NT between 10 and 25C. Internode length increased 0.129 and 0.071 cm/1C increase in DIF for LD- and SD-grown plants, respectively. Individual leaf area increased 0.52 and 0.40 cm2/1C increase in DIF for LD- and SD-grown plants, respectively. DT or NT above 24C reduced stem elongation and leaf expansion, regardless of DIF. The response of stem elongation and leaf expansion to DIF was greater on a percent basis when plants were grown under SD and LD, respectively. On an absolute basis, both internode length and leaf area were greater on LD-grown plants. Branching increased as average daily temperature decreased from 25 to 12C. Photoperiod did not affect branching.

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Sissel Torre, Tove Fjeld, Hans Ragnar Gislerød and Roar Moe

Single node cuttings with one mature leaf were taken from Rosa ×hybrida `Baroness' and rooted in water culture. The plants were subjected to either 90% (high) or 70% (moderate) relative humidity (RH) in climate chambers. Single stem roses with intact roots were transferred to 40% (low) RH to investigate the stomatal response to water stress. Moderate RH plants showed decreasing leaf conductance from day 1 to day 3 during both light and dark phases, in contrast to high RH roses, which showed almost similar leaf conductances during the 3 days. Leaf samples were studied with a light microscope (LM) and a scanning electron microscope (SEM) to quantify morphological and structural changes. Epidermal imprints showed a significantly higher number of stomata and longer stomata, as well as a wider stomatal apertures on roses grown at high RH. The high RH leaves showed a reduced density of vascular tissue and thinner leaves when compared to moderate RH leaves. Enlarged intercellular air-space (ICA) was found due to a reduced number of spongy and palisade mesophyll cells. No obvious difference in shape, size, undulation or the structure of the epicuticular wax was observed in SEM between high and moderate RH grown leaves. In conclusion, roses subjected to high RH showed differences in leaf anatomy, stomatal morphology and stomatal function, which may explain the loss of water control of these plants. Stomatal ontogenesis should occur at RH conditions below 85% to secure roses with a high postharvest quality potential.

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Grete Grindal Patil, Vibeke Alm, Roar Moe and Olavi Junttila

The role of phytochrome in control of stem elongation by daily temperature alternations is unclear. The aim of this work was to study the involvement of phytochrome B in thermoperiodism in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.), and the interaction with gibberellin (GA). The wild type and the phytochrome B deficient, long-hypocotyl (lh) cucumber mutant were grown under alternating day (DT) and night temperature (NT) and either with or without an exposure to end-of-day far-red light (EOD-FR). Without EOD-FR, hypocotyl and internodes of the wild type plants were shorter under a low DT (19 °C)/high NT (25 °C) (negative DIF) compared with a high DT/low NT regime (positive DIF), while the number of leaves was reduced by 12%. EOD-FR enhanced elongation of hypocotyl and internodes. However, EOD-FR reduced the effect of alternating temperature on hypocotyl elongation. The lh cucumber mutant did not respond to EOD-FR treatments, but internode length was slightly increased by positive compared with negative DIF. The results suggest that phytochrome B is required for a maximum effect of daily temperature alternations on stem elongation in cucumber. Additional GA4 reduced the difference between positive and negative DIF, but it had a minor effect only on the difference between EOD-FR and EOD red light (EOD-R) in the wild type. Plants depleted for endogenous GA by the GA biosynthesis inhibitor paclobutrazol, did not respond at all to DIF or EOD treatments. When seedlings were treated with prohexadione-calcium, which blocks both biosynthesis and inactivation of GA4, response to applied GA4 was enhanced by EOD-FR. The present results suggest that, in cucumber, EOD-FR, and probably also positive DIF, enhances tissue sensitivity to GA4. In addition, catabolism of GA4 can be enhanced by negative DIF.