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  • Author or Editor: Xiaogang Zhao x
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The large-flowered Chinese chrysanthemum is one of the most morphologically complex ornamental plants, and its identification and classification requires a well-defined and reproducible system. The diversity of the capitulum is determined mainly by multiple shapes of ray florets. However, the existing classification systems for ray floret types are incomplete and unsystematic. In this study, 299 ray florets from 151 large-flowered chrysanthemum varieties in China, as well as 12 related traits of ray florets, were selected for quantitative classification. First, as one of the most important indices of ray floret shape, the corolla tube merged degree (CTMD) was defined as the corolla tube length/ray floret length (CTL/RFL). Combined with a probability grading method and linear regression analysis, the CTMD was divided into three groups, flat, spoon, and tubular, of which the CTL/RFL ranged from 0 to 0.20, 0.20 to 0.60, and 0.60 to 1.00, respectively. Second, Q-mode cluster analysis indicated that each group could be further categorized into three types (straight, curved, and atypical), based on other important variables in the ray floret. Finally, the ray floret was classified into nine types, including flat-straight, flat-curve, flat-atypical, spoon-straight, spoon-curve, spoon-atypical, tubular-straight, tubular-curve, and tubular-atypical. This ray floret classification system will be valuable in the classification of capitulum shape and has significance for the identification, breeding, and international standardization of chrysanthemum cultivars.

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