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Thomas G. Ranney

Leaf gas exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements were used as indices for evaluating heat tolerance among five species of birch: paper (Betula papyrifera), European (B. pendula), Japanese (B. platyphylla var. japonica `Whitespire'), Himalayan (B. jacquemontii), and river (B. nigra). Measurements were conducted on individual leaves at temperatures ranging from 25C to 40C. Carbon exchange rates (CER) were depressed for all species at 40C. However, there was considerable variation in both absolute and relative (percent of maximum) CER among species at 40C; river birch maintained the highest absolute and relative CER while CER of paper birch was reduced the most. Although stomatal conductance of paper birch decreased at higher temperatures, internal leaf CO2 increased indicating that reduced stomatal conductance was not responsible for decreased CER. Stomatal conductance of river birch increased at higher temperatures which provided for enhanced uptake of CO2 and greater evaporative cooling. Variable chlorophyll fluorescence decreased similarly for both species with increasing temperatures. Measurements of dark respiration rates over the range of 25C to 40C suggested that the primary factor influencing variation in CER at higher temperatures was due to variation in respiration rates at higher temperatures.

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Kimberly Shearer and Thomas G. Ranney

Dogwoods (Cornus spp.) are valuable nursery crops grown as landscape plants throughout much of the world. Although there has been considerable work on breeding and selecting dogwoods, there is little information available on genome sizes (DNA content) and ploidy levels within the genus, particularly for specific clones and cultivars. Our objective was to conduct a survey of relative genome sizes and ploidy levels of dogwood taxa representative of the big-bracted, cornelian cherry, and dwarf dogwood clades. Flow cytometry was used to determine relative genome sizes and ploidy levels of 94 accessions of various species, hybrids, and cultivars. Traditional cytology was performed on root cells of representative taxa to calibrate genome sizes with ploidy level. All dogwood accessions tested were diploid with the exception of C. canadensis that was tetraploid and the hybrid cultivar C. KN30-8 that was triploid. Relative genome sizes varied by clade, subgenus, and species with 1Cx values ranging from 1.07 pg for C. canadensis to 5.08 pg for C. eydeana. Relative genome sizes were also valuable for confirming hybridity of interspecific crosses in cases in which parents varied substantially in relative genome size and hybrids were intermediate. A broad range of interspecific hybrids was documented including C. capitata × florida, C. capitata × kousa, C. elliptica × florida, C. hongkongensis × florida, C. kousa × elliptica, and C. kousa × florida. These results provide further insights into the cytogenetics, reproductive biology, crossability, and relative genome sizes of dogwoods.

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Ryan N. Contreras and Thomas G. Ranney

Wide hybridization can potentially lead to the combination of diverse traits, but these hybrids are often sterile as is the case with the inter-subgeneric hybrid Rhododendron `Fragrant Affinity'. Induction of polyploidy can restore chromosome homology and fertility in wide hybrids. In this study we successfully developed an allopolyploid form of R. `Fragrant Affinity' using oryzalin as a mitotic inhibitor and chromosome doubling agent. Approximate genome size (2C), determined using flow cytometry, was 1.6 pg for the diploid and 3.2 pg for the allotetraploid. Pollen viability, determined by staining and germination tests, was 4% and 0%, respectively for the diploid and 68% and 45%, respectively for the allotetraploid. No seeds were produced when the diploid R. `Fragrant Affinity' was crossed with pollen from viable diploid and tetraploid parents. The allotetraploid produced viable seeds and seedlings when crossed with viable pollen from either diploid or tetraploid parents, including self pollination, demonstrating restored fertility. Additional crosses were successfully completed using the allotetraploid as part of an ongoing breeding program to develop new fragrant, cold hardy, evergreen rhododendron.

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Richard T. Olsen and Thomas G. Ranney

Inheritance of two mutant foliage types (purple and mottled variegated) was investigated for diploid, triploid, and tetraploid tutsan (Hypericum androsaemum). Segregation ratios were determined for diploid crosses in reciprocal dihybrid F1 and F2, BC1P1, and BC1P2 families. F2 tetraploids were derived from autotetraploid F1s. Triploid segregation ratios were determined from crosses between autotetraploid F1s and diploid F1s. Diploid di-hybrid crosses fit the expected 9:3:3:1 ratio for a single, simple recessive gene for both traits, with no evidence of linkage between each trait. Data from backcross and triploid crosses generally supported this model. In tetraploid crosses we observed twice as many variegated phenotypes as predicted which was not explained by random chromosome or chromatid assortment. Inheritance of purple foliage did not deviate from random chromosome assortment at the tetraploid level.

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Todd J. Rounsaville and Thomas G. Ranney

An extensive survey of genome sizes and ploidy levels was conducted for a diverse collection of Berberis and Mahonia taxa (Berberidaceae). Propidium iodide flow cytometric analysis was conducted using Pisum sativum L. ‘Ctirad’ (2C DNA = 8.76 pg) as an internal standard to determine genome sizes. Mean 1CX genome sizes varied between the two Mahonia subgenera (Occidentales = 1.17 ± 0.02, Orientales = 1.27 ± 0.01), whereas those of Berberis subgenera were similar (Australes = 1.45 ± 0.03, Septentrionales = 1.47 ± 0.02) and each significantly larger than those of Mahonia. Traditional cytology was performed on representative species to calibrate genome sizes with ploidy levels. Polyploidy among both wild and cultivated taxa was found to be rare. Although the majority of species were determined to be diploid with 2n = 2x = 28, artificially induced autopolyploid Berberis thunbergii seedlings were confirmed to be tetraploid and an accession of Mahonia nervosa was confirmed to be hexaploid. Genome size and ploidy level reports for the majority of taxa sampled are presented for the first time and are intended to be of use to plant breeders, ecologists, and systematists.

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Thomas G. Ranney and Everett P. Whitman II

A 3-year study was conducted to evaluate growth and survival of trees grafted onto five species of birch rootstocks. `Whitespire' Japanese birch (Betula platyphylla var. japonica Hara.) was grafted onto paper birch (B. papyrifera Marsh), European birch (B. pendula Roth), river birch (B. nigra L.), Szechuan birch [B. szechuanica (C. Schneid.) Janson], and `Whitespire' Japanese birch rootstocks and grown under field conditions. Trees grafted onto river, European, paper, and `Whitespire' birch rootstocks had similar (100% to 60%) survival rates. Trees on Szechuan rootstock had a survival rate of 30%, which was lower than that of all other rootstocks, except `Whitespire'. `Whitespire' scions grafted onto European birch rootstocks had thicker trunks, were higher, and had wider canopies than trees grafted onto `Whitespire' rootstocks. Trees on river birch rootstocks also had thicker trunks but similar tree heights and canopy widths as trees grafted onto `Whitespire'. `Whitespire' Japanese birch rootstocks produced more rootstock suckers than any of the other rootstocks, while trees on river birch rootstocks had the most frost cracks. No signs of graft incompatibility were observed for any of the graft combinations. These results demonstrate that growth of `Whitespire' birch can be enhanced by grafting this cultivar on rootstocks of other species, including European and river birch.

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Thomas G. Ranney and Paul R. Fantz

Franklinia alatamaha Bartr. ex Marshall represents a monotypic genus that was originally discovered in Georgia, USA, but is now considered extinct in the wild and is maintained only in cultivation. Although Franklinia is very ornamental, with showy flowers and crimson/maroon fall foliage, it tends to be short lived when grown as a landscape tree and is known to be susceptible to a variety of root pathogens. Gordonia lasianthus (L.) Ellis is an evergreen tree native to the southeastern United States, typically growing in riparian habitats. Gordonia lasianthus has attractive foliage and large, white, showy flowers, but limited cold hardiness. Hybridization between F. alatamaha and G. lasianthus could potentially combine the cold hardiness of F. alatamaha with the evergreen foliage of G. lasianthus and broaden the genetic base for further breeding and improvement among these genera. Controlled crosses between F. alatamaha and G. lasianthus resulted in intergeneric hybrid progeny. A morphological comparison of parents and the progeny is presented. ×Gordlinia grandiflora Ranney and Fantz (mountain gordlinia) is proposed as the name for these hybrids and is validated with a Latin diagnosis.

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Dominic A. Gillooly and Thomas G. Ranney

Kalmia is a highly ornamental genus of shrubs native to North America and Cuba and grown as a valuable nursery crop throughout much of the temperate world. Although most species of Kalmia have previously been found to be diploid with 2n = 2x = 24, one species, Kalmia polifolia, has been found to be tetraploid. However, sampling within the genus has been limited, and information on the ploidy levels of specific cultivars is lacking. The objective of this study was to determine the relative genome sizes and ploidy levels of species, hybrids, and cultivars of Kalmia. Flow cytometry was used to determine the relative genome sizes of 67 accessions representing species, interspecific hybrids, cultivars, and chemically induced polyploids. Traditional cytology was used to calibrate genome sizes with ploidy levels. Results showed that relative genome sizes were conserved with 1Cx values ranging from 0.57 pg for Kalmia carolina to 0.70 pg for Kalmia latifolia. Most species of Kalmia were diploid including K. buxifolia (Leiophyllum buxifolium), K. carolina, K. cuneata, K. hirsuta, K. latifolia, and K. microphylla. Although plants of K. carolina (Kalmia angustifolia var. carolina) were uniformly diploid, the closely related, but more northerly distributed, K. angustifolia was primarily tetraploid, providing additional justification for treating these as separate species. An unusual triploid of K. angustifolia f. candida was also documented. Kalmia polifolia included both tetraploid and potentially pentaploid individuals, indicating a ploidy series within this species. Kalmia latifolia cultivars also included one triploid, two cytochimeras, and two chemically induced tetraploids. Overall, polyploidy was more prevalent in Kalmia than previously reported and varied both within and among species. This broader survey of relative genome sizes and ploidy levels in Kalmia provides valuable information for plant breeders and new insights into the systematics and cytogenetics of the genus.

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Thomas G. Ranney and Richard E. Bir

The potential for enhancing flood tolerance of birches by using better adapted rootstock was evaluated. Survival, growth, and physiological responses were compared among flooded and nonflooded container-grown Japanese birch (Betula platyphylla var. japonica Hara. `Whitespire') trees grafted onto each of four rootstock: paper birch (B. papyrifera Marsh), European birch (B.pendula Roth.), river birch (B. nigra L.), and `Whitespire' Japanese birch. Separate studies were conducted in Fall 1991 and Spring 1992. Results showed no consistent differences in net photosynthesis (Pn) or survival among nonflooded plants regardless of rootstock or season, nor, were any symptoms of graft incompatibility evident. Flooding the root system for as long as 44 days revealed considerable differences among the four rootstock, with similar trends for fall and spring. Plants on river birch rootstock typically had one of the highest P rates and stomatal conductance (g,) and, in certain cases, greater mean shoot growth rates and survival of plants subjected to prolonged flooding. Although plants with European birch rootstock had survival rates similar to those of plants with river birch rootstock, plants on European birch rootstock had lower Pn under prolonged flooding, fewer late-formed roots, lower root-tip density after flooding, more abscissed leaves, and greater inhibition of shoot growth of plants flooded the previous fall. Paper and Japanese birch rootstock were most sensitive to flooding and had the lowest survival rate after flooding. However, plants on paper birch rootstock were the only plants whose Pn did not increase significantly when flooding ended; they had the most abscissed leaves during spring flooding and the greatest inhibition of shoot growth in the spring after flooding the previous fall. The four rootstock ranked from most to least flood tolerant were river > European > Japanese > paper.