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Jessica D. Lubell and Mark H. Brand

‘Firestorm’ rhododendron flowers had the shortest longevity, at just over 9 d ( Fig. 1 ). ‘Cary’s Red’ rhododendron and ‘Henry’s Red’ rhododendron were statistically no different in flower longevity than ‘Besse Howells’ rhododendron and ‘Firestorm

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José J.M. van der Meulen-Muisers, Joop C. van Oeveren, and Jaap M. van Tuyl

Genotypic variation in postharvest flower longevity was determined for 63 Asiatic lily hybrids (Lilium L.). The reliability of standardized test conditions for longevity screening was also examined. Improvement of lily flower longevity by breeding appears feasible. Considerable genotypic variation in individual flower longevity was obtained and estimates of the degree of genotypic determination were high. The rank order of the genotypes with respect to individual flower longevity was similar between years using standardized test conditions. Screening results for flowers forced in a growth chamber were similar to those obtained in a greenhouse. No plant traits suitable for indirect selection on flower longevity were detected.

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Deirdre Scott, Susan S. Han, and Thomas H. Boyle

Eight Easter cactus (Rhipsalidopsis Britt. & Rose) cultivars and five Holiday cactus (Schlumbergera Lem.) cultivars were used to study postanthesis floral development and individual flower longevity. Floral aging was characterized by desiccation of the perianth and ovary, and was generally followed by abscission of the entire flower from the phylloclade. Petal turgor was maximal during early development when petal color was most intense. Petal color became less intense in the later stages of development. Flower longevity ranged from 7 to 12 days and from 4 to 6 days for the Rhipsalidopsis and Schlumbergera, respectively. This study demonstrates that significant genetic variation occurs within Rhipsalidopsis and Schlumbergera for flower longevity.

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Dennis P. Stimart and Kenneth R. Schroeder

Efforts to improve postharvest longevity of fresh-cut flowers has only recently turned toward selection and breeding. Conventional methods to extend keeping longevity of cut flowers depend on use of chemical treatment placed in holding solutions. Postharvest longevity studies were initiated with Antirrhinum majus L. (snapdragon) to determine: if natural genetic variation existed for cut-flower longevity, the inheritance of the trait, heritability, and associated physiology. Evaluation of commercial inbreds held in deionized water revealed a range in cut-flower longevity from a couple of days to 2.5 weeks. The shortest- and longestlived inbreds were used as parents in crosses to study the aforementioned areas of interest. Information will be presented on inheritance of cut flower longevity based on populations evaluated from matings for generation means analysis and inbred backcross method. Also presented will be information on stomata, transpiration, carbohydrate, fresh-weight change, and forcing temperature relative to postharvest longevity.

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Alan G. Smith*, Nicole Gardner, and Elizabeth Zimmermann

Flower longevity is an important character in many ornamental crops. The processes of pollination and fertilization can cause senescence of the petals through the action of ethylene or its precursors. Preventing the production of pollen and therefore pollination could delay the senescence of petals. We tested whether male-sterility would increase flower longevity in petunia. The gene consisted of a stamen-specific promoter isolated from a Lycopersicon esculentum gene driving the expression of a barnase. Barnase is a RNase that is cytotoxic. The gene was introduced into `Lavender Storm' and `Purple Wave' petunia by Agrobacterium- mediated gene transfer. Five independent transgenic lines of both cultivars were regenerated, rooted, and grown in a greenhouse. All lines showed complete male-sterility as measured by the lack of detectable pollen. Two transgenic lines and a non-transformed control of each cultivar were propagated vegetatively and the flower longevity of each genotype was determined in a greenhouse experiment. There were two treatments: no pollination or pollination with cross-compatible pollen. All sterile genotypes that were not pollinated had increased flower longevity relative to pollinated sterile flowers or either treatment of male fertile (non-transformed) genotypes. These results indicate an application for sterility in the production of petunia flowers with increased longevity. Male and female sterility may be applicable in other ornamental crops where pollination or fertilization is a trigger to petal senescence.

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Michelle H. Williams, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

It is generally accepted that ethylene production is centrally located in petal senescence, however, non-climacteric flowers senesce irrespective of the presence of ethylene. The regulation of flower senescence may well be linked to protein synthesis. Our objective was to develop a simple tool which can be used in breeding programmes and\or the market place to determine potential longevity of a flower. Here, SDS-PAGE protein profiles of both potted and cut chrysanthemum flowers were determined from flowering to senescence. Generally, only minor changes in both protein content and the proportion of the major polypeptides were observed in the potted flowers. However, polypeptides at 40, 45 and 65 kDa increased during flower senescence and are of particular interest because they could be linked to flower longevity. The apparent stability of the proteins may contribute to the long postharvest life of the potted chrysanthemum.

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Jose Antonio S. Grossi, H. Brent Pemberton, and William E. Roberson

The effect of exogenous ethylene was investigated on single-stemmed plants of Rosa L. `RUIdodo', `RUIrosora', `RUIjef', `MEIferjac', `MEIshulo', `MEIghivon' and `MEIgagul' grown in controlled environment growth chambers simulating summer-like and winter-like conditions. When the flower on each plant reached developmental stage 2 (showing color, calyx reflexing, no petals reflexed), the plants were placed for 18 h in plexiglass chambers with ethylene at 0, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0 and 5.0 μL·L-1 under a simulated interior environment at 21 °C with 14 μmol·m-2·s-1 fluorescent light. Under the same interior environment, the plants were kept for postharvest evaluation. Response to ethylene of all cultivars was not affected by the difference in growing conditions. As shown previously by other authors, however, the ethylene reduced flower longevity. Treatment with 0.1 μL·L-1 of ethylene reduced flower longevity by 1 day in comparison to the control (0 μL·L-1). The ethylene concentrations of 1.0 μL·L-1 and 5.0 μL·L-1 reduced flower longevity by 3 days. Regardless of ethylene concentration or growing conditions, `RUIjef' and `MEIferjac' exhibited the longest flower longevity and `MEIghivon' and `MEIgagul' the shortest flower longevity. All cultivars, except `RUIrosora', exhibited the longest flower longevity under summer-like vs. winter-like conditions, with the difference ranging from 1.5 to 5 days. `RUIrosora' exhibited similar flower longevity regardless of growing conditions. Differences in flower longevity in response to seasonal growing conditions have been found by us and other authors, but the cultivars used in this study have not been previously studied. This difference in flower longevity as a response to growing conditions cannot be explained by differences in response to ethylene so that other factors must be involved.

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Renate Karle and Thomas H. Boyle

The effects of floral morphology and breeding behavior on flower longevity were investigated in Easter cactus [Hatiora ×graeseri (Werderm.) Barthlott)]. Four clones were studied: two diploid (n = 11) clones (`Evita' and `Purple Pride') that were highly self-incompatible (SI), and two cytochimeras (diploid epidermis and tetraploid subepidermis) that were recovered from the diploid cultivars, both of which were self-compatible (SC). The clones exhibited differences in the stage of floral development in which autogamy commenced. Autogamy commenced on the day of anthesis in the two `Evita' clones and occurred ≈5 days after anthesis in the `Purple Pride' cytochimera. In the `Purple Pride' diploid clone, anthers and stigmatic lobes remained spatially separated during the period from anthesis to senescence. Examination of styles collected from senesced, undisturbed flowers showed that few pollen tubes traversed to the base of the styles for the two SI diploid clones, whereas large numbers of pollen tubes were present at the base of the styles for the two SC cytochimeras. Flower longevity for the `Evita' cytochimera was significantly less than for `Evita' diploid, but the diploid and cytochimeral clones of `Purple Pride' exhibited similar flower longevities. Application of 2 mm silver thiosulfate, an inhibitor of ethylene (C2H4) action, did not affect flower longevity of `Evita' cytochimera. Our results show that flower longevity in Easter cactus is influenced by breeding behavior and the stage of floral development at which autogamy commences.

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José A. Monteiro, Terril A. Nell, and James E. Barrett

Research was conducted to investigate the relationship between flower respiration and flower longevity as well as to assess the possibility of using miniature rose (Rosa hybrida L.) flower respiration as an indicator of potential flower longevity. Using several miniature rose cultivars as a source of variation, four experiments were conducted throughout the year to study flower respiration and flower longevity under interior conditions. For plants under greenhouse as well as interior conditions, flower respiration was assessed on one flower per plant, from end-of-production (sepals beginning to separate) up to 8 days after anthesis. Interior conditions were 21 ± 1 °C and 50 ± 5% relative humidity with a 12-hour photoperiod of 12 μmol·m-2·s-1 (photosynthetically active radiation). Flower respiration was higher if the plants were produced during spring/summer as compared to fall/winter. `Meidanclar', `Schobitet', and `Meilarco' miniature roses had higher flower respiration rates than `Meijikatar' and `Meirutral'. These two cultivars with the lowest respiration rates showed much greater flower longevity if grown during spring/summer as compared to fall/winter. The three cultivars with the higher respiration rates did not show differences in flower longevity between seasons. For plants under greenhouse or interior conditions, flower respiration was negatively correlated with longevity in spring/summer but a positive correlation between these parameters was found in fall/winter. During spring/summer, flower respiration rate appears to be a good indicator of potential metabolic rate, and flowers with low respiration rates last longer.

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José J.M. van der Meulen-Muisers and Joop C. van Oeveren

To improve the ability to discriminate between Asiatic hybrid lilies (Lilium L.) with regard to cut flower longevity in breeding trials, sources creating nongenetic variation during the preharvest, harvest, or postharvest phases were identified. The bulb stock origin (grower) and evaluation temperature caused only small nongenetic variation in individual flower longevity. In contrast, the developmental stage of floral buds, when cut, produced significant nongenetic variation in flower longevity. This variation could be reduced by delaying harvest. An evaluation temperature of 17 °C was optimal to discriminate between longevity levels compared to 14 and 20 °C. Flower deformation due to withering of the petals was an improved criterion for the termination of flower longevity and was preferred instead of loss of turgor of the petals. Standard conditions for screening and selecting Asiatic hybrid lilies for individual flower longevity after cutting are proposed.