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Yosuke Yoshioka, Ryo Ohsawa, Hiroyoshi Iwata, Seishi Ninomiya, and Naoko Fukuta

Petal shape and picotee colour pattern of lisianthus [Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.] were qualitatively evaluated by means of personal computer-based methods. In lisianthus, many cultivars have been improved to obtain various floral characteristics. Picotee color patterns and flower shape are commercially important in this species and the availability of an objective and quantitative evaluation method is of vital importance for investigations related to the genetic and physiological aspects of these characteristics. Our objectives were to evaluate petal shape variation quantitatively and to establish a new quantitative evaluation method for picotee color patterns. We succeeded in quantitatively evaluating petal shape variation by means of elliptic Fourier descriptors and principal-components analysis, and in evaluating picotee color patterns by a newly developed procedure based on comparative marginal distribution. Petal shape variation was divided into symmetrical and asymmetrical elements of the entire shape variation. Both groups were additionally divided into several components. The variations in picotee color pattern were effectively described by the first through fourth principal components. Comparing the varietal effect of these components, nested analyses of variance showed that the differences between cultivars in picotee color pattern were smaller than those of the symmetrical shape elements. In addition, the environmental effects on picotee color formation were greater than those of symmetrical shape formation. The evaluation methods described in this study are effective for further investigations, and are applicable to other floricultural crops as well as lisianthus.