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Kim Patten, Elizabeth Neuendorff, Gary Nimr, John R. Clark, and Gina Fernandez

The relative tolerance of flower buds and flowers of southern highbush blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) to cold damage was compared to rabbiteye (Vaccinium ashei Reade) and highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum L.). For similar stages of floral bud development, southern highbush and highbush cultivars had less winter freeze and spring frost damage than rabbiteye cultivars. Cold damage increased linearly with stage of flower bud development. Small fruit were more sensitive to frost damage than open flowers. Rabbiteye blueberry flower buds formed during the fall growth flush were more hardy than buds formed during the spring growth flush, regardless of cultivar or stage of development.

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Schuyler D. Seeley

The effect of thermal accumulation on anthesis rate in apricot, apple, peach, and tart cherry flowers during dormancy, dormancy release, and normal anthesis was determined. Data from several studies in warm and cold climates have indicated that thermally driven anthesis has an early low-temperature optimum that rises during anthesis. This is not true. Erroneous interpretation of results may have been due to inadequate measurements of the endodormancy status of seeds and buds. After endodormancy, flower-bud development temperature responses follow a normal sigmoidal curve with small but significant contributions at temperatures as low as 2C. The grand phase of the growth curve occurs between 16 and 20C in tart cherry. Asymptotic growth vs. temperature responses occurred at <10 and >22C, with minima near 0 and optima >24C. These data indicate that asymmetric curvilinear anthesis models need to be fitted to each species.

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Fumiomi Takeda, Bernadine C. Strik, Derek Peacock, and John R. Clark

Transition to reproductive development and subsequent development of floral primordia (e.g., sepals, petals, stamens, and pistils) were determined in several blackberry (Rubus subgenus Rubus Watson) cultivars (Boysen, Cherokee, Chester Thornless, Marion, and Thornless Evergreen) growing in one or more locations (Clarksville, Ark., Aurora and Hillsboro, Ore., and Kearneysville, W. Va.). Also, daily maximum, mean, and minimum temperatures were recorded at three sites (Clarksville, Aurora, and Kearneysville) for the September to April sampling period. In buds of `Boysen' and `Marion' from Oregon, sepal primordia were first observed in November and December, respectively. Further floral bud development continued into January. Sepal development in `Cherokee' buds occurred in October in Oregon and in December in Arkansas. At all three sites, the buds of `Chester Thornless' blackberry remained undifferentiated until spring. The average mean temperatures in Oregon were generally well above 5 °C during the bud sampling period, but were near 0 °C on most days from mid-December to January in Arkansas and from December to late-February in West Virginia. The phenology of flower bud differentiation varied among the cultivars and was strongly influenced by prevailing winter temperatures. The results suggest that the shortening day lengths of late summer trigger flower bud development in blackberry. Floral bud development in blackberry, once initiated, was continuous; however, periods of low temperature (<2 °C) can arrest development.

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Kiyoshi Ohkawa, Hyeon-Hye Kim, Emiko Nitta, and Yukinori Fukazawa

Leucocoryne, a native to Chile, has violet, blue, or white flowers and is increasing in popularity as a cut flower. The effects of storage temperature and duration on flower bud development, shoot emergence, and anthesis were investigated. Bulbs stored at 20 to 30 °C for 22 weeks produced 3.4 flower stems per bulb between March and April. Bulbs stored at 20 °C flowered earliest, followed by those stored at 25 °C. Bulbs stored at 30 °C flowered last. After 16 weeks of storage at 20 °C, a further 2 weeks dry storage at 15 °C before planting resulted in 1 month earlier flowering with no reduction of the number of flowering stems. As dry storage at 20 °C increased to 11 months, the time to emergence and flowering decreased. After dry storage at 20 °C for 12 months, the primary flower stems aborted and secondary stems then developed. Secondary and tertiary flower stems tend to commence flower bud development after the flower bud on the primary flower stem has reached the gynoecium or anther and ovule stage of initiation.

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Jeffrey G. Williamson and E.P. Miller

In 1998, representative canes of mature, field-grown, `Misty' and `Sharpblue' southern highbush blueberry were hand-defoliated on 4 Sept., 2 Oct., 6 Nov., 7 Dec., or not defoliated. The experiment was repeated in 1999. Randomized complete-block designs with 11 (1998) or 10 (1999) replications were used. The early defoliation treatments (4 Sept. and 2 Oct.) resulted in reduced flower bud number per unit length of cane for `Misty', but not for `Sharpblue', when compared with later defoliation treatments or controls. A similar response to early defoliation was found both years for both cultivars. The later defoliation treatments (6 Nov. and 7 Dec.) had no significant effect on flower bud number compared to controls. Early defoliation had a negative effect on flower bud development for both cultivars. Flower buds that developed on canes defoliated on 4 Sept. or on 2 Oct. had smaller diameters than flower buds on canes defoliated on 6 Nov., 7 Dec., or on non-defoliated canes. Fruit fresh weight per unit cane length was less for the September and October defoliation treatments than for the December defoliation treatment or controls. These results support the need for summer pruning and a effective summer spray program to control leaf spot diseases that often result in early fall defoliation of southern highbush blueberries grown in the southeastern United States.

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Warner Orozco-Obando* and Hazel Y. Wetzstein

The general doctrine of flowering in Hydrangea is that floral induction occurs during the previous season on last year's growth and usually at the stem's terminal bud. However, Hydrangea cultivars widely differ in their relative abundance and duration of flower production. The objective of this study was to determine how developmental flowering patterns compare among different genotypes. Flowering was characterized in 18 H. macrophylla cultivars by assessing the extent of flower initiation and development in terminal and lateral buds of dormant shoots (i.e., after they have received floral inductive conditions.) Plants were managed under outdoor conditions. Dormant, 1-year-old stems were collected and characterized for caliper and length. All buds >2 mm were dissected and the vegetative or floral bud stage of development was categorized for each bud microscopically. Flower development occurred in 100% of the terminal buds for all the cultivars with the exception of `Ayesha' (33%). In contrast, lateral buds showed a wide variation in flower development. For example: `All Summer Beauty', `David Ramsey', `Kardinal', `Masja', and `Nightingale' showed high levels of floral induction (>92 % of lateral buds induced.) In contrast, `Ayesha', `Blushing Pink', `Freudenstein', and `Nigra' had 10% or fewer lateral buds with floral initials. Thus, the degree of floral induction in lateral buds varied tremendously among different cultivars. In addition, flower initiation and development were not related to the size (length and caliper) of individual buds. Thus, bud size does not appear to be a good indicator of flowering potential.

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Yerko M. Morenol, Anita Nina Miller-Azarenko, and William Potts

Flower bud growth and ovule longevity of plum (Prunus domestics L.) cultivars Italian and Brooks and the effects of fall-applied ethephon and of temperature were studied. Fresh and dry weights of terminal flower buds were measured at l-week intervals from 50 days to 1 day before bloom in 1988. Buds were also analyzed for N, P, K, Ca, and B. After bloom, ovule longevity was determined using a fluorescence method after staining with aniline blue. Ovule longevity was determined in 1990 using shoots excised at full bloom from untreated and ethephon-treated trees of both cultivars and held in growth chambers for 18 days at 5, 10, 15, or 20C. `Brooks' flower buds showed a higher accumulation of fresh and dry weight than `Italian', and ethephon reduced bud weights in both cultivars. Ethephon did not affect mineral content of flower buds of `Brooks', but `Italian' flower buds contained a higher concentration of Ca and a lower concentration of P when treated with ethephon. Boron content was higher in the ethephon-treated buds of `Italian' trees on some sampling dates. Ovule longevity was higher for `Brooks' than for `Italian' in both years. Ethephon treatment delayed ovule senescence in `Italian' flowers, but had little or no effect on `Brooks' flowers. Increasing temperatures induced faster ovule senescence in both cultivars. Chemical name used. 2-chloroethylphosphonic acid (ethephon).

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Preston K. Andrews, Shulin Li, and Margaret L. Collier

The development of sweet cherry (Prunus avium L., `Bing') flower buds from winter through anthesis was examined. Shoots were collected from the top and bottom of the canopy. The weight and size of flower buds and primordia produced on last-season's and 1-year-old wood were measured. As early as mid-December bud and primordia size and weight were greater on last-season's wood than on 1-year-old wood, with the largest and heaviest buds and primordia produced on last-season's wood in the bottom of the canopy. There was a significant negative correlation between the number of primordia per bud and primordium weight. The relationship between flower bud and primordia size during mid-December and ovary size at anthesis suggests a causal relationship, which may be a major source of variation influencing harvested fruit size and quality.

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James E. Faust and Kelly P. Lewis

Three cultivars of New Guinea impatiens (Impatiens hawkeri) and two cultivars of double impatiens (I. walleriana) were grown in greenhouses maintained at 15, 20, and 25 °C. Bud diameter was measured twice weekly on five plants per cultivar from the time of visible bud to open flower. The experiment was repeated twice. For New Guinea impatiens, the time from visible bud (1-mm diameter) to open flower was 31, 43, and 72 days at 25, 20 and 15 °C, respectively. Flower bud diameter increased linearly as the bud expanded from 1 to 9 mm. For double impatiens, the time from visible bud (1-mm diameter) to open flower was 25, 30, and 58 days at 25, 20 and 15 °C, respectively. Flower bud diameter increased at an increasing rate (curvilinear response) as the bud expanded from 1 to 8 mm. These models are currently in commercial use to aid greenhouse growers in accurately timing crops for specific market dates.

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Todd Wert, Jeffrey G. Williamson, and Robert E. Rouse

Four low-chill peach cultivars were evaluated at three locations in Florida for vegetative and reproductive bud development and fruit set. Twenty trees (five each of `Flordaprince', `Tropicbeauty', `UFgold', and `Flordaglo') were planted at each site in Feb. 2002. Prior to budbreak in Spring 2004 and 2005, three shoots per tree of average length and diameter were selected at a height between 1.5–2.0 m and the numbers of vegetative and flower buds per node were recorded for each shoot. No consistent pattern for the number of vegetative buds per node was observed among cultivars and locations, or across years. However, 'Tropicbeauty' tended to have fewer vegetative buds per node than `Flordaprince' during both seasons, although not at all locations. Overall, the number of flower buds per node was greater for north-central Florida than for central or southwest Florida. There were no consistent tends over years and among locations for the ranked order of flower buds per node by cultivar. The percentage of nodes without flower or vegetative buds (blind nodes) was generally greatest for `Tropicbeauty' at most locations during both years. During 2005, the percentage of blind nodes was greater in central and southwest Florida than in north-central Florida. Overall, fruit set was similar between the central and north-central Florida locations. Fruit set tended to be higher for `UFGold' and `Flordaglo' than for `Flordaprince' or `Tropicbeauty'.