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  • Author or Editor: Thomas G. Ranney x
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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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Temperature sensitivity of CO2 assimilation (ACO2), dark respiration, and chlorophyll fluorescence was evaluated among three taxa of hollies including I. aquifolium L., I. cornuta Lindl. & Paxt., and I. rugosa Friedr. Schmidt. Variations in foliar heat tolerance among these species were manifested in temperature responses for ACO2. Temperature optima of ACO2 for I. rugosa, I. cornuta, and I. aquifolium were 22.0, 26.3, and 27.9 °C, respectively (LSD0.05 = 2.9). Temperature responses of respiration were similar among taxa and did not appear to be contributing factors to variations in ACO2. At 40 °C, potential photosynthetic capacity, measured under saturating CO2, was 4.1, 9.4, and 14.8 μmol·m-2·s-1 for I. rugosa, I. aquifolium, and I. cornuta, respectively (LSD0.05 = 5.1). Variations in the relative dark-acclimated fluorescence temperature curves were used to assess thresholds for irreversible heat injury. The critical fluorescence temperature threshold (TC) was similar (48.0 °C) for all taxa. The fluorescence temperature peaks (TP) were 52.0, 52.8, and 53.5 °C for I. rugosa, I. cornuta, and I. aquifolium, respectively (LSD0.05 = 0.9). Based on these results, I. rugosa was the most heat-sensitive species, followed by I. aquifolium and I. cornuta. Ilex cornuta also had substantially greater potential photosynthetic capacity than the other species at 40 °C, indicating superior metabolic tolerance to high temperatures.

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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.

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Leaf gas-exchange and chlorophyll fluorescence measurements were used as indexes for evaluating heat tolerance among five taxa of birch: paper (Betula papyrifera Marsh.), European (B. pendula Roth.), Japanese (B. platyphylla var. japonica Hara. cv. Whitespire), Himalayan (B. jacquemontii Spach.), and river (B. nigra L. cv. Heritage). Gas-exchange measurements were conducted on individual leaves at temperatures ranging from 25 to 40C. River birch maintained the highest net photosynthetic rates (Pn) at high temperatures, while Pn of paper birch was reduced the most. Further study of river and paper birch indicated that the reduced Pn at high temperatures and the differential sensitivity between taxa resulted from several factors. Inhibition of Pn at higher temperatures was due largely to nonstomatal limitations for both taxa. Increases in respiration rates, decreases in maximal photochemical efficiency of photosystem (PS) II (F V/F M), and possible reductions in light energy directed to PS II (F 0 quenching) were apparent for both taxa. The capacity of river birch to maintain greater Pn at higher temperatures seemed to result from a lower Q10 for dark respiration and possibly greater thermotolerance of the Calvin cycle as indicated by a lack of nonphotochemical fluorescence quenching with increasing temperatures. Thermal injury, as indicated by a rapid increase in minimal, dark-acclimated (F 0) fluorescence, was not evident for either paper or river birch until temperatures reached ≈49C and was similar for both taxa.

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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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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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A diverse collection of germplasm representing 24 taxa from Catalpa sect. Catalpa Paclt and sect. Macrocatalpa Grisebach, Chilopsis D. Don, and ×Chitalpa Elias & Wisura were screened for susceptibility to powdery mildew (PM), Erysiphe elevata (Burr.) U. Braun & S. Takam, and Catalpa sphinx larvae (CSL), Ceratomia catalpae (Boisduval), feeding. The PM screening was conducted in 2004–05, with plants grown in a lathhouse (50% shade) in 2004, and a gravel pad (100% full sun) in 2005. The PM causal organism was identified as Erysiphe elevata both years. Disease incidence and severity were recorded at 2-week intervals for 6 weeks and used to calculate area under the disease progress curves (AUDPC) for each taxon for each year. North American Catalpa in sect. Catalpa, Chilopsis, and ×Chitalpa taxa were all moderate to highly susceptible to PM. Chinese Catalpa in sect. Catalpa and West Indian species in sect. Macrocatalpa were resistant to PM. Hybrids between North American and Chinese Catalpa in sect. Catalpa varied in susceptibility, indicating inheritance of partial resistance to PM. A no-choice feeding study conducted with CSL in 2005 found no differences in survival or growth of larvae reared on taxa from Chilopsis, ×Chitalpa, or either section of Catalpa. Future breeding of ×Chitalpa can utilize two different sources of PM resistance, but a source for resistance to CSL was not identified.

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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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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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