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Robert Price, Marihelen Kamp-Glass, and David Powell

Venus fly trap, Dionaea muscipula Ellis, leaf sections were surfaced sterilized under aseptic conditions. The leaf sections were cultured in reduced strength Muashige and Skoog growth medium supplemented with 2,25 mg/l 6-Benzylaminopurine and 1.0-2.0 mg/l Kinetin. The various levels of cytokinin were used to differentiate and enhance callus formation.

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Donglin Zhang, Michael A. Dirr, and Robert A. Price

Cephalotaxus Sieb. and Zucc. (plum yew) species and cultivars have become popular because of their sun and shade tolerance, resistance to deer browsing, disease and insect tolerance, and cold and heat adaptability. Unfortunately, the nomenclature and classification in the literature and nursery trade are confusing due to their extreme similarity in morphology. In this study, amplified fragment-length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to discriminate taxa and evaluate genetic differences among 90 Cephalotaxus accessions. A total of 403 useful markers between 75 and 500 base pairs (bps) was generated from three primer-pair combinations. Cluster analysis showed that the 90 accessions can be classified as four species, C. oliveri Mast., C. fortunei Hooker, C. harringtonia (Forbes) Koch., and C. ×sinensis (a hybrid species); four varieties, C. fortunei var. alpina Li, C. harringtonia var. koreana (Nakai) Rehd., C. harringtonia var. nana (Nakai) Hornibr., and C. harringtonia var. wilsoniana (Hayata) Kitamura; and eight cultivars. Suggested names are provided for mislabeled or misidentified taxa. The Cephalotaxus AFLP data serve as a guide to researchers and growers for identification and genetic differences of a taxon, and a model to establish a cultivar library against which later introductions or problematic collections can be cross-referenced.

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Donglin Zhang, Michael A. Dirr, and Robert A. Price

Cephalotaxus species are needle evergreens offering the aesthetic qualities of Taxus, yew, yet are heat- and drought-tolerant, sun- and shade-adaptable, and resist deer browsing. They are adaptable to nursery and garden cultivation in USDA hardiness zones (5)6–9. Unfortunately, the various species are frequently confused in the American nursery trade due to their extreme similarity in morphology. Recently, molecular data have been widely applied in the taxonomic studies, especially DNA sequencing. The chloroplast gene rbcL of Cephalotaxus has been sequenced for determining species relationships. The preliminary results show that C. oliveri Mast. has 10 base changes from C. drupacea Sieb. et Zucc., while only one base difference occurred between C. drupacea and C. harringtonia (Forbes) Koch. There are between one and 10 base substitutions among C. fortunei Hooker, C. koreana Nakai, and C. sinensis (Rehd. et Wils.) Li. Compared with other closely related conifers, Cephalotaxus has a substantial number of differences among species except between C. drupacea and C. harringtonia, which may not be distinct species. Detailed data relative to gene sequencing, growth morphology, and horticultural characteristics should lead to correct identification of species and great horticultural uses. Furthermore, the method of rbcL sequence can be applied to distinguish other morphologically homogeneous ornamental plants.

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Donglin Zhang, Michael A. Dirr, and Robert A. Price

The correct identification of horticultural taxa becomes more and more important for intellectual property protection and economic reasons. Traditionally, morphological characteristics have been used to differentiate among the horticultural taxa. However, the morphological characteristics may vary with plant age, cultural conditions, and climate. Modern technologies, such as DNA markers, are now employed in the identification of horticultural taxa. Currently, technologies of DNA sequencing (gene sequences) and DNA fingerprinting (RAPD, RFLP, SSR, and AFLP) are available for distinguishing among horticultural taxa. The literature and our personal experience indicate that the application of each technique depends on the taxon and ultimate goal for the research. DNA sequencing of a variety of nuclear or chloroplast encoded genes or intergenic spacers (rbcL, ndhF, matK, ITS) can be applied to distinguish different species. All DNA fingerprinting technologies can be used to classify infraspecies taxa. AFLP (the most modern technique) is the better and more-reliable to identify taxa subordinate to the species, while RAPDs can be employed in clonal or individual identification. Techniques of RFLP and SSR lie between AFLP and RAPD in their effectiveness to delineate taxa. Mechanics, laboratory procedures, and inherent difficulties of each technique will be briefly discussed. Application of the above technologies to the classification of Cephalo taxus will be discussed in concert with the morphological and horticultural characteristics. Future classification and identification of horticultural taxa should combine DNA technology and standard morphological markers.

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Julie Guckenberger Price, Amy N. Wright, Kenneth M. Tilt, and Robert L. Boyd

The need for reliable planting techniques that encourage posttransplant root growth in adverse conditions has prompted research into planting above soil grade (above-grade). Container-grown Morella cerifera (L.) Small (syn. Myrica cerifera L.) (wax myrtle), Illicium floridanum Ellis (Florida anise tree), and Kalmia latifolia L. (mountain laurel) plants were planted in Horhizotrons (root observation chambers) in a greenhouse in Auburn, AL, on 1 Mar. 2006, 6 June 2006, and 3 Jan. 2007, respectively. The experiment was repeated with all three species being planted 18 June 2007. Horhizotrons contained four glass quadrants extending away from the root ball providing a nondestructive method for measuring root growth of the same plant into different rhizosphere conditions. Each quadrant was filled with a native sandy loam soil in the lower 10 cm. The upper 10 cm of the quadrants were filled randomly with: 1) milled pine bark (PB); 2) peat (P); 3) cotton gin compost (CGC); or 4) more native soil with no organic matter (NOM). Horizontal root lengths (HRL, length measured parallel to the ground from the root ball to the root tip) of the five longest roots visible along each side of a quadrant were measured weekly for M. cerifera and I. floridanum and biweekly for K. latifolia. These measurements represented lateral growth and penetration of roots into surrounding substrates on transplanting. When roots of a species neared the end of the quadrant, the experiment was ended for that species. M. cerifera had the fastest rate of lateral root growth followed by I. floridanum and then by K. latifolia. In most cases, roots grew initially into the organic matter rather than the soil when organic matter was present. In general, HRL and root dry weight (RDW) of I. floridanum and K. latifolia were greatest in PB and P, whereas for M. cerifera, these were greatest in P. Differences in root growth among substrates were not as pronounced for M. cerifera as for the other species, perhaps as a result of its rapid increase in HRL. Increased root growth in PB and P may be attributed to the ideal physical and chemical properties of these substrates. Results suggest that planting above soil grade with organic matter may increase posttransplant root growth compared with planting at grade with no organic matter.

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Stephen L. Love, Thomas Salaiz, Bahman Shafii, William J. Price, Alvin R. Mosley, and Robert E. Thornton

Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is an essential nutrient in the human diet and potatoes are a valuable source. As a first step in breeding for potatoes (Solanum tuberosum L.) with higher levels of ascorbic acid, 75 clones from 12 North American potato-breeding programs were evaluated for concentration, and 10 of those for stability of expression. Trials were grown in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington in 1999 and 2000, tubers sampled, and ascorbic acid quantified. There were significant differences among clones and clone by environment interaction was also significant. Concentration of ascorbic acid of the clones was continuously distributed over a range of 11.5 to 29.8 mg/100 g. A subgroup of 10 clones was analyzed using an additive main effects and multiplicative interaction (AMMI) model, to diagnose interaction patterns and measure clone stability. The first two principal component axes accounted for over 80% of the variability. Bi-plot analysis showed `Ranger Russet' to be highly unstable across the environments tested. A plot of Tai's stability statistics found six of the 10 clones to be stable for ascorbic acid expression. Appropriate evaluation methods for ascorbic acid concentration must involve multi-year testing.

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Julie Guckenberger Price, Amy N. Wright, Robert S. Boyd, and Kenneth M. Tilt

Planting shrubs above-grade with organic matter has shown potential for improving landscape establishment. To further investigate this technique, wax myrtle [Morella cerifera (syn. Myrica cerifera)] (3 gal) and mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia ‘Olympic Wedding’) (5 gal) were planted on 30 Oct. 2006 (fall planting) and 12 Apr. 2007 (spring planting) in the ground in a shade house in Auburn, AL. At each planting date, plants of each species were assigned one of four treatments. Three of four treatments used a modified above-grade planting technique in which shrubs were planted such that the top 3 inches of the root ball remained above soil grade. Organic matter, either pine bark (PB), peat (PT), or cotton gin compost (CGC), was applied around the above-grade portion of the root ball, tapering down from the top of the root ball to the ground. In the fourth treatment, plants were planted at-grade with no organic matter (NOM). In general, both species had higher shoot dry weight (SDW) and root spread (RS) when planted in the fall than when planted in spring. Among all treatments, plants also typically had larger RS when planted above-grade with PB or PT. For easy-to-transplant species (such as wax myrtle) and especially for difficult-to-transplant species like mountain laurel, fall planting using this modified above-grade planting technique with PB or PT may improve post-transplant root growth and speed establishment in the first growing season.

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Julie Guckenberger Price, Stephen A. Watts, Amy N. Wright, Robert W. Peters, and Jason T. Kirby

Green roofs are becoming increasingly prevalent in the United States due to their economical and environmental benefits as compared with conventional roofs. Plant selection for green roofs in the variable climate of the southeastern United States has not been well evaluated. Shallow substrates on green roofs provide less moderation of temperature and soil moisture than deeper soils in traditional landscapes, necessitating empirical evaluation in green roof environments to make informed recommendations for green roof plant selection. Nineteen species and cultivars, including succulents, grasses, and forbs, were evaluated under seasonal irrigated and non-irrigated conditions in experimental green roofs. Plants were planted on 26 Oct. 2009 and each evaluated for survival and increase in two-dimensional coverage of the substrate during establishment, after overwintering, and after the first growing season. The winter 2009–10 was colder than normal, and some plants, such as ice plants (Delosperma spp.), considered to be cold-hardy in this climate did not survive through the winter. Irrigation influenced survival for the summer period and only succulent plants like stonecrops (Sedum spp.) survived without irrigation. Irrigated experimental green roofs had significantly lower summer substrate temperatures (up to 20 °F lower) and plants survived in irrigated conditions. Plants that survived both winter and summer under irrigated conditions include pussytoes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), mouse-ear tickseed (Coreopsis auriculata), eastern bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix), glade cleft phlox (Phlox bifida stellaria), and eggleston's violet (Viola egglestonii). Irrigation is recommended on extensive green roofs to increase the palette for plant selection by protecting against plant mortality due to drought and extreme soil temperatures.