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Matthew A. Jenks, Carole H. Gaston, Mark S. Goodwin, Jessie A. Keith, Rebecca S. Teusink, and Karl V. Wood

Cuticular waxes were analyzed on abaxial and adaxial leaf surfaces of three Hosta genotypes differing in leaf surface glaucousness; the glossy-leaved Hosta plantaginea, the glossy-leaved Hosta lancifolia, and the glaucous-leaved Hosta `Krossa Regal'. All three hosta had their highest total leaf wax quantity in the spring soon after full leaf expansion. The major wax constituent class on these hosta was primary alcohols, comprising up to 84.6% of the total wax. Many hosta leaves had unusually high C24 length primary alcohols, especially in the spring. However, the dominant chain length in this alcohol class varied with development and genotype. A unique class of ß-diketones were present on the glaucous `Krossa Regal', comprising as much as 28.7% of the total waxes on abaxial leaf surfaces in the summer. Interestingly, these ß-diketones were only 0.9% of total waxes on adaxial leaf surfaces of `Krossa Regal' in the summer. Studies are under way to determine whether the dramatic seasonal changes in the waxy leaf coatings described in this report are associated with biotic and abiotic stress resistance in hosta.

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Jing-Tian Ling, Nick Gawel, and Roger J. Sauve

The genus of Hosta (plantain lily) is a shade-loving herbaceous plant with attractive foliage. Confusion exists in the genus regarding nomenclature and taxonomy. In this study, the possibility of application of RAPD markers to characterize Hosta species and cultivars was investigated. DNA was extracted from 28 Hosta species and cultivars. Thirty-six of 37 primers generated RAPD markers. Phylogenic analysis and principal components analysis showed groupings among cultivars. Results indicated that H. plantaginea and H. ventricosa were the most distant from the other tested species and cultivars. These results suggest RAPDs may be useful in the identification and analysis of relationships among Hosta.

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David J. Williams and Karim H. Al-Juboory

The objective of this study was to evaluate the ability of various cultivars of Hosta ovary explants to generate adventitious shoots and obtain variegated plants in vitro. Immature inflorescences along with 8 to 10 cm of scape were harvested from Hosta cultivars. The ovaries were prepared for culture by cutting immature florets before anthesis. The florets were first cut just above the top of the immature ovary to remove the sigma, style, corolla, and anther. Then the calyx and filament bases were also removed. Ovaries were transversely cut into halves and transferred to baby jars containing Hosta initiation medium supplemented with naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) at 0.5 mg/L and 6-benzylamino purine (BA). The explants produced adventitious shoots from ovary base via organogenesis. The number of shoots regenerated from shoot tips and callus increased linearly with repeatedf subculturing on MS medium. This method would provide an effective alternative to conventional propagation crown division of Hosta, an expensive and slow process. The long-term goal of this project is to improve Hosta.

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David J. Williams and Karim H. Al-Juboory

University of Illinois, Department of Horticulture, Plant Science Lab, 1201 S. Dorner, Urbana, IL.

Calli were initiated from immature inflorescences of selected cultivars of Hosta in the light on Hosta initiation medium (Carolina Biological Supply Company, 1986). Three cultivars, Francee, Birchwood Park's Gold, and Wide Brim Sum & Substance, produced microshoots. The calli were compact and green in color. The highest percentage of callus formation occurred with the Francee cultivar. Nakaiana, Golden Edger, Golden Scepter, Obscura, Sum & Substance, and Shade Fanfare produced only calli. The calli were transferred to modified Murashige and Skoog salts. The media containing 5 × 5 factorial combinations of NAA and BA (0.0, 0.1, 0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 mg/l). The results show that media with NAA at 1.0 and 2.0 mg/l in combination with BA from 0.5 to 2.0 mg/l produced the highest number of microshoots per explant.

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes, and J. Raymond Kessler

A study conducted in 1995 and repeated in 1996 determined the effects of repeated BA applications and subsequent repeated removals on yields of offsets in Hosta Tratt. (Funkia K. Spreng; Niobe Salisb.) stock plants. Two hosta cultivars, `Francee' and `Francis Williams', received zero, one, two, three, or four foliar applications of benzyladenine (BA) at 3000 mg·L-1. Plants receiving multiple applications were retreated at 30-day intervals following offset removal from all plants. A single BA application stimulated offset formation in both cultivars in both years, but repeated applications were necessary for a continued response following offset removal. Total offset yield increased linearly as the number of BA applications increased. At 120 days after the first treatment in 1995, `Francee' plants receiving four applications had produced an average of 22 offsets, and `Francis Williams' plants 18 offsets, whereas control plants produced 9.8 and 0 offsets, respectively. Similar data for 1996 were 31.2 offsets for `Francee' and 22.4 offsets for `Francis Williams,' whereas control plants produced 6.8 and 2.6 offsets, respectively. Offset stage of development, as indicated by leaf number, and growth index generally were not affected by BA treatment. No phytotoxicity was observed, and plant appearance was enhanced due to the outgrowth of BA-stimulated lateral buds. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine, BA).

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Roger J. Sauve, Suping Zhou, Yingchun Yu, and Wolfram George Schmid

A randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique was used to identify and determine the phylogenetic relationships of 37 hosta accessions representing the major subgenera, sections and groups in the genus Hosta. Results of this study show that RAPD markers were able to differentiate not only the main groups, whose plants shared many genetic traits, but also cultivars within a species. Some accessions were identified by a single primer while others had high intercross linkage and required many markers for their separation. The phylogenetic clustering showed that H. plantaginea, the only night-blooming species, and H. ventricosa, the only known natural tetraploid, are unique and should be classified separately. The four species in the subgenus Bryocles, section Lamellatae H. venusta, H. minor, H. capitata, and H. nakaiana have very low genetic similarity since they do not share many amplified fragments. The other accessions were classified into four main clusters; cluster 1: H. venusta, H. tardiva, H. pycnophylla, H. tsushimensis `Ogon', H. montana, H. tibae, H. montana f. macrophylla, H. kikutii `Kikutii', H. longissima `Longifolia', H. rectifolia `Rectifolia', H. takahashii and H.`Undulata'; cluster 2: H. laevigata, H. sieboldiana, H. pycnophylla × H. longipes f. latifolia, H. longipes `Urajiro' and H. ibukiensis; cluster 3: H. capitata, H. kikutii `Polyneuron', H. nigrescens, H. kikutii `Yakusimensis', H. pachyscapa, H. kikutii `Caput-Avis', H. longipes f. latifolia, H. hypoleuca, H. okamotoi, H. densa and H. takiensis; and cluster 4: H. aequinoctiiantha, H. rupifraga, H. `Amanuma', H. minor and H. kikutii `Densa'.

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Wendy Britton, E.J. Holcomb, and David J. Beattie

Four rates of two slow-release fertilizers were tested for optimum growth of five hosta cultivars: Hosta sieboldiana `Elegans', Hosta plantaginea `Aphrodite', Hosta `Jade Scepter', Hosta `Hadspen Blue', and Hosta `Francee'. Tissue-cultured hostas from 2.5-cm plugs were planted in 6-inch (15-cm) pots filled with a commercial soilless medium, and the slow-release fertilizer was dibbled into the medium at 0, 3, 6, or 12 g/pot. The plants were maintained for 4 months. Root and shoot fresh and dry weights were recorded at the end of the experiment. In addition, foliar nutrient analysis was conducted on `Aphrodite', `Francee', and `Jade Sceptor'. Overall, hostas grew best when the medium was amended with 3 g of either Osmocote 14N-6P-11.5K or Sierrablen 17N-6P-12K slow-release fertilizer.

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes, and J. Raymond Kessler

A foliar spray of 0, 1250, 2500, or 3750 mg benzyladenine (BA)/liter was applied to 10 hosta cultivars. Response to BA treatment was cultivar dependent, with BA promoting offset formation in half of the cultivars tested. Increase in offsets compared to the control ranged from 116% in `Francee' to 3500% in `Francis Williams' at 30 days after treatment (DAT) and from 150% in `Royal Standard' to 2250% in `Francis Williams' at 60 DAT with 3750 mg BA/liter. Stage of development, as indicated by the number of unfurled leaves on offsets, was also cultivar and BA dependent. All cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/liter had an average of three or more unfurled leaves at 60 DAT, while among control plants, 40% of cultivars averaged less than three unfurled leaves. No phytotoxic symptoms were noted in any cultivar, and growth index was either increased or not affected by BA treatment. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine, BA).

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James M. Garner, Gary J. Keever, D. Joseph Eakes, and J. Raymond Kessler

A foliar spray of 0, 1250, 2500, or 3750 mg benzyladenine (BA)/L was applied to 10 Hosta Tratt. (Funkia K. Spreng; Niobe Salisb.) cultivars. Response to BA treatment was cultivar dependent, with BA promoting offset formation in half of the cultivars. Compared to the control, increase in offsets produced by cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/L ranged from 116% in `Francee' to 3500% in `Francis Williams' at 30 days after treatment (DAT) and from 150% in `Royal Standard' to 2250% in `Francis Williams' at 60 DAT. Offset stage of development, as indicated by the number of unfurled leaves, was also cultivar- and BA-dependent. All cultivars treated with 3750 mg BA/L had an average of three or more unfurled leaves at 60 DAT, while among control plants, 40% of cultivars averaged fewer than three unfurled leaves. No phytotoxic symptoms were noted in any cultivar, and plant size was either increased or not affected by BA treatment. Chemical name used: N-(phenylmethyl)-1H-purin-6-amine (benzyladenine; BA).

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Jessie Keith, Carole H. Gaston, and Matthew A. Jenks

Hosta variants for epicuticular waxes were selected based on variation in surface glaucousness, from highly glaucous to highly glossy. In an effort to determine seasonal variation in hosta waxes, gas-chromatography mass-spectrometry was used to perform detailed chemical analysis of the adaxial and abaxial leaf blade waxes four times points during the growing season, early spring, mid-spring, mid-summer, and autumn. These studies revealed that in all variants, the total wax loads increased dramatically during the period of leaf expansion in the spring, dropped roughly five fold by midsummer, and then accumulated slightly above summer levels into the fall season. The dominant wax constituent class on all hosta cultivars was primary alcohols. Changes in these alcohols were primarily responsible for seasonal changes in total wax load. In some variants, the shorter chain length alcohols were unusually high compared with alcohol distributions normally found on other plants. Besides primary alcohols, significant amounts of acids, aldehydes, and alkanes, were also found and shown to vary during the growing season. A possible association between these seasonal changes in wax profiles and hosta resistance to slugs is discussed.