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  • Author or Editor: Xiao-li Li x
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A nondestructive method for the determination of chlorophyll index for the tea plant based on reflectance spectral characteristics was investigated. Spectral data were collected from 184 samples with a spectroradiometer in a field experiment. Multivariate analysis techniques, including partial least squares (PLS) and multiple linear regression (MLR), were used for developing calibration models for the determination of chlorophyll index of the tea plant. The best calibration model was achieved using the PLS technique with a correlation coefficient (r) of 0.95, a se of prediction of 3.40, and a bias of 1.9e−06. When the model was used for predicting the unknown samples, good performance was also obtained with r of 0.91, se of calibration of 4.77, and bias of 0.02. Sensitive wavelengths were selected through loading analysis of latent variables in the optimal PLS model, and the validity of these wavelengths was proved by MLR and statistical analysis. Three fingerprint wavelengths (488, 695, and 931 nm) were determined and could potentially be used for developing a simple, low-cost, and efficient instrument for the measurement of chlorophyll index. The results proved the feasibility of reflectance spectra for measurement of chlorophyll index of the tea plant.

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Northwestern Yunnan is situated in the southern part of the Hengduan Mountains, which is a complex and varied natural environment. Consequently, this region supports a great diversity of endemic plants. Using field investigation in combination with analysis of relevant literature and available data, this paper presents a regional ethnobotanical study of this area. Results indicated that northwestern Yunnan has an abundance of wild ornamental plants: this study identified 262 endemic species (belonging to 64 genera and 28 families) with potential ornamental value. The distinguishing features of these wild plants, their characteristics and habitats are analyzed; the ornamental potential of most plants stems from their wildflowers, but some species also have ornamental fruits and foliage. Among the endemic genera, Pedicularis and Rhododendron have particularly high numbers of ornamental wild species, while Aconitum, Gentiana, Corydalis, Silene, Delphinium, Cremanthodium, and Saussurea also contain significant numbers of wild ornamental species. It is suggested that cultivation of these species may be beneficial, both commercially and to help conserve endangered endemic plant species.

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In this study, the effects of different Xinjiang pear varieties and ‘Korla Fragrant Pear’ pollination on the stone cells and lignin of fruit were investigated. The contents of stone cells and lignin, and the activities of related enzymes [polyphenol oxidase (PPO), peroxidase (POD), and phenylalanine ammonium lyase (PAL)] were analyzed in fruit from different pollination combinations at different growth and developmental stages. Results showed that the stone cell mass density decreased rapidly at 60 to 90 days and 90 to 120 days after flowering. The stone cell and lignin contents, and activities of the three enzymes (PPO, POD, and PAL) decreased rapidly at 60 days after flowering. The stone cell mass density, stone cell and lignin contents, and enzyme activity of fruit from different pollination combinations varied at different timescales. The pear variety ‘Bayue‘ had the lowest stone cell and lignin contents in mature fruit from different pollination combinations. The stone cell content correlated positively with lignin content, stone cell mass density, and enzyme activity.

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Large natural genetic diversifications have occurred among Chinese tree peony cultivars under the natural and artificial selections on the flower for ornamental and medicinal uses in the past over 1500 years in China. Paeonia suffruticosa ‘Zi Mei You Chun’ X.Q. Zhao & J.P. Zhao & X.Z. Zhao & X.C. Zhao & Q.X. Gao & Z.Q. Zhao & J.X. Zhao & Z.L. Suo (Paeoniaceae) is a unique cultivar possessing side flowers and bicolored floral disc belonging to the Central Plains tree peony cultivar group of China. This natural mutant is not only an outstanding ornamental, but also a valuable material for scientific research on evolution of tree peony cultivars, metabolic pathways of pigments in the floral disc, origin of floral disc in Paeoniaceae, and other issues in plant evolutionary and developmental genetics.

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Apple blotch caused by Alternaria alternata apple pathotype is a severe disease of apple (Malus ×domestica Borkh) occurring throughout the world, especially in eastern Asia. Phenotypic and genetic information about resistance/susceptibility of apple germplasm to this disease will be extremely valuable for selecting and developing new disease resistant cultivars. In this study, 110 apple cultivars obtained from the USDA apple germplasm in Geneva, NY, were evaluated for their resistance/susceptibility to apple blotch by field surveys, and inoculation of detached leaves with a suspension of germinated conidia of A. alternata apple pathotype. Disease incidence were different among the cultivars and categorized into resistant (R), moderately resistant (MR), or susceptible (S). Two molecular markers, S428, a random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) marker associated with disease resistance, and a simple sequence repeat (SSR or microsatellite) marker CH05g07, linked to susceptibility were used to correlate the phenotypes expressed in field surveys and laboratory inoculations. The detection using either the S428 marker or the CH05g07 marker in 50 common breeding cultivars was consistent with R or S traits except for ‘Bisbee’ and ‘Priscilla’. These two cultivars were MR to apple blotch through phenotyping. However, SSR markers were detected, but RAPD markers were not and therefore were considered susceptible. Combined with the record of resistance to fire blight from Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), ‘Dayton’, ‘Mildew Immune Seedling’, ‘Puregold’, and ‘Pumpkin Sweet’ were highly resistant to both diseases and considered as the best choices of parents for stacking resistance to multiple diseases in breeding program.

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Deicing salts often are applied to sidewalks and roadways to enhance pedestrian and driving safety during freezing weather. For example, in eastern North Dakota, average annual snow days and amount are 29 days and 40 inches, respectively. This study was conducted in Fargo, ND, to investigate the population dynamics of turfgrass mixtures composed of kentucky bluegrass [KB (Poa pratensis)], creeping red fescue [RF (Festuca rubra)], and alkaligrass [ALK (Puccinellia sp.)] with the goal of optimizing turf quality by selecting seed ratios containing these species in home lawn mixtures and subject to frequent applications of deicing salts. A total of 21 mixtures were generated based on simplex-lattice design with KB, ALK, and RF contributing to 0%, 20%, 40%, 60%, 80%, and 100% of their respective full-seeding rate of 150, 150, and 300 lb/acre, respectively, after pure live seed (PLS) adjustment. The mixtures were tested at annual deicing salt rates of 0, 160, 320 lb/acre, which represent typical application. The results showed that the botanical component of the stands of grasses shifted over a 2-year period for all salt levels. Despite the good salinity tolerance of ALK reported elsewhere, it did not contribute to the improvement of turf quality in mixtures receiving deicing salts at 320 lb/acre per year. Therefore, ALK is not recommended for lawn, but mixing KB and RF in 48% and 52% of their respective full-seeding rates was recommended for areas adjacent to deicing salt applications.

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Camellia flowers are highly prized for their beauty worldwide and are strongly symbolic in many cultures. A new interspecific hybrid cultivar, Camellia ‘Maozi’, generated by crossing Camellia pubipetala with C. japonica ‘Dahong Mudan’, exhibits strong hybrid vigor and has small flowers with a rare light tone of purple. In southwest China with a subtropical monsoon climate, young Camellia ‘Maozi’ trees flush shoots three times in spring, summer, and autumn, with an average annual growth of 12.9 cm. Adult trees flush once a year. Floral bud formation occurs in late April and early May. Camellia ‘Maozi’ flowers are sterile with no fruits and seeds produced. While an individual flower wilts 4–8 days after opening, the blossom can last 1–3 months. Frost damage can be found in young leaves when temperature drops to 4–7 °C. Under direct sunlight with temperatures of 37–39 °C lasting for more than 2 days, young leaves can turn yellow on their edges. Its primary diseases include sooty mold, shoot tip blight, and peony leaf tip blight. Its primary insect pests are tea green leafhopper (Jacobiasca formosana) and tea aphid (Toxoptera aurantii). Rooting of stem cuttings occurs directly from stems, mostly without callus development. Two hours of treatment with 500 mg·L−1 indole-3-butyric acid and rooting in a mix of latosolic red soil and vermiculite (2:1 v/v) resulted in high rooting rate and quality of aboveground growth. Grafting can be carried out from May to September, while survival rate and new shoot length are highest in July. The most compatible rootstock is C. oleifera, followed by C. polyodonta. The results of this study are of value for understanding the reproductive biology of Camellia ‘Maozi’ and further disseminating it as a new cultivar for camellia collection.

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The flowers of Camellia chrysantha, commonly named as golden camellia, are treasured for their unique yellow color and are popularly used for tea. Compared with common camellia flowers that are either red, purple, pink, or white, golden camellia flowers are rare and are in high market demand. Our study was aimed to induce flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants with urea and paclobutrazol (PBZ), a growth retardant. Generally, it takes 6–8 years for C. chrysantha seedlings and 5–6 years for grafted plants to set flower buds. With a 4 × 4 factorial design, four dosages of urea (1, 3, 5, or 8 g/plant) and four concentrations of PBZ (50, 150, 350, and 750 ppm) were tested on 4-year-old C. chrysantha grafted plants. Significant interaction between urea and PBZ was observed, and nine of the 16 combinations produced significantly more flower buds than the control, although not all flower buds could open because of abscission. High concentrations of PBZ and high dosages of urea were generally associated with severe defoliation and slow growth of basal stem diameter. When taking bud abscission into account, combinations of 150 ppm PBZ with 1 g urea and 350 ppm PBZ with 3 g urea resulted in significant flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants without negative effects on vegetative growth and flower bud size and severe defoliation. This is the first report on flowering induction in a golden camellia species using juvenile plants. Our results suggest that application of optimized PBZ and urea doses can be a potential means for manipulation of early flowering in golden camellia species.

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Camellia chrysantha flowers are in great market demand as a result of their high ornamental and medicinal values. To induce early flowering in 4-year-old juvenile C. chrysantha seedlings, three levels of paclobutrazol (PBZ) concentration (100, 200, and 300 ppm) were applied to the roots. PBZ is a triazole-type cytochrome P450 inhibitor that was found successful in inducing flowering in juvenile C. chrysantha grafted plants in a prior report. The current study shows that all three PBZ concentrations were equally effective in induction of floral buds, resulting in an average of 20 floral buds per treated plant. In comparison, none of the untreated plants flowered. Although the induced flowers were smaller than the ones from mature trees, PBZ treatment did not affect C. chrysantha flowers’ medical values, because there was no significant change in the content of pharmacologically active compounds (polysaccharide, polyphenols, flavonoids, and saponins). None of the PBZ treatments had a negative effect on the current year’s growth in height and basal diameter, photosynthesis, and levels of water-soluble sugars and nutrients [phosphorus (P), nitrogen (N), potassium (K), and carbon (C)]. It is concluded that PBZ is an effective flowering inducer for juvenile C. chrysantha plants. It was also found that PBZ-treated plants experienced defoliation, and there existed a strong correlation between severity of defoliation and PBZ concentration. This might be attributed by the stress induced by PBZ, as demonstrated by the increased activities of some of the stress-related enzymes [ascorbate peroxidase (APX), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and peroxidase (POD)], and the level of malondialdehyde (MAD). Considering that severe defoliation can cause stunted or malformed plants and reduce aesthetic value, 100 ppm is the optimal PBZ concentration for flowering induction in C. chrysantha seedlings.

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There exist large accumulations of natural genetic diversifications under the natural and artificial selections on the flower among the Chinese tree peony cultivars incited by ornamental and medicinal uses in the past over 1500 years in China. Paeonia suffruticosa `Xiao Ci Wei' is a unique Chinese tree peony cultivar possessing special bicolored petals with tubular tip structure (Paeoniaceae). This natural mutant is not only a unique ornamental, but also a valuable material for scientific researches in Evodevotics.

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