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Caroline J. Poole, Audrey I. Gerber, and Gerard Jacobs

Brunia albiflora (Pillans) is harvested commercially in South Africa as a cut flower for export to European markets. To compete with European cut flowers high quality and continuity of product during the marketing period are essential. Optimizing the cut-flower potential of B. albiflora requires an understanding of the flowering process and selection of clonal material. We present a series of scanning electron micrographs which show three-dimensional images of the developmental stages of the shoot apex during the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive state. In B. albiflora the inflorescence consists of more than 15 individual rotund inflorescences arising from lateral positions on the terminal portion of the shoot. Development of the apical meristem of axillary shoots was studied to determine the time and sequence of inflorescence initiation and development. These observations identified that flower initiation occurs in October, followed by flower development through summer, with anthesis being reached from February to March.

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Eleanor W. Hoffman, Dirk U. Bellstedt, and Gerard Jacobs

this case by the differentiation of many involucral bracts. Verification of optimum BA concentration for inflorescence initiation in ‘Carnival’. An experiment to verify the optimum BA concentration for inducing budbreak and inflorescence

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Audrey I. Gerber, Karen I. Theron, and Gerard Jacobs

Inflorescence initiation in Protea cv. Lady Di (P. magnifica Link × P. compacta R. Br.) occurs predominantly on the spring growth flush when it is subtended by one or more previous growth flushes. Mature, over-wintering leaves are essential for induction of flowering in `Lady Di', and are also crucial to the early stages of inflorescence initiation and differentiation. Defoliation before elongation of the spring growth flush was complete prevented flowering, and shoots either remained vegetative or produced inflorescences that aborted. Levels of carbohydrates in the stem and leaves of overwintering shoots were low, and early growth and development of both the spring flush and inflorescence were, therefore, supported by current photosynthates from the mature leaves on the overwintering shoot. Likewise, reserve carbohydrates available in the flowering shoot were insufficient to account for the rapid increase in dry weight during the major portion of growth of the spring flush and inflorescence. This increase occurred after elongation of the spring flush was complete and was supported by current photosynthates from the leaves of the spring flush. Defoliation treatments that did not prevent inflorescence initiation had no effect on inflorescence development or on flowering time.

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K.I. Theron and G. Jacobs

Nerine bowdenii bulbs were sampled from a commercial planting and dissected at 2-week intervals from 9 Oct. 1990 to 12 Nov. 1991. The following variables were recorded: number of florets per inflorescence, differentiation stage of the oldest floret, exterior dimensions of the inflorescence, and the number of leaf primordia between the two innermost inflorescences and between the innermost inflorescence and the vegetative apex. Scanning electron micrographs were made of the inflorescences at different stages of development. The development of the inflorescences of the growth units appeared to be synchronized. When the florets of the outermost inflorescence reached stage Late G (gynoecium elongated, carpels fused), the spathe started to elongate. When florets in the second inflorescence reached stage Mid G (three carpels elongated, not fused), the innermost inflorescence was initiated. Inflorescence development passed through three phases: 1) a floret initiation phase of ≈1 year, when nine to ten florets were initiated, 2) a differentiation phase, also ≈1 year long, when individual florets developed up to stage Late G, and 3) an inflorescence enlargement phase, which lasted ≈4 months and culminated in anthesis. Leaf primordia were initiated at the same rate as florets (one per month) and the vegetative phase for a growth unit was completed within 1 year.

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Audrey I. Gerber, Karen I. Theron, and Gerard Jacobs

Protea L. sp. can be assigned to groups according to similar times of flower initiation and harvest. The stages occurring during flower initiation and their synchrony relative to shoot growth were investigated for three cultivars when flower initiation occurred on the spring growth flush. For all three cultivars, the spring flush was preformed and enclosed in the apical bud before spring budbreak. During elongation of the spring flush, the apical meristem produced floral primordia which differentiated into involucral bracts. After completion of the spring flush, meristematic activity continued and produced floral bracts with florets in their axils. The different cultivars were characterized by differences or similarities in the time of budbreak, and the rates of shoot growth, appendage formation, and flower development. Insight into the time of flower initiation relative to vegetative growth could be useful in making management decisions, as well as forming a basis for manipulation of the flowering process.

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Luise Ehrich, Christian Ulrichs, and Heiner Grüneberg

until flower initiation could be microscopically determined for the first time for each treatment of the investigated species/hybrids during the spring and fall batches of the trials started in 2006. The different stages of inflorescence initiation were

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Linsey A. Newton and Erik S. Runkle

is long enough to prevent inflorescence initiation in some, but not all, Phalaenopsis clones. Exposure to 29 °C for 4 h did not delay or inhibit flowering in most cases. These results support those of Sakanishi et al. (1980) , who reported that 6

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Sylvie Jenni, Isabelle Gamache, John Christopher Côté, and Katrine A. Stewart

Growers of early stalk celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce) often experience financial losses due to bolting (the premature and rapid elongation of the main celery stem) in temperate regions. A method was developed to provide early warning of bolting in field-grown celery, on the basis of two criteria, one visual and one microscopic, for inflorescence development. Bolting could be detected 40 days after transplanting using the visual criterion, and as early as 30 days after transplanting using the microscopic criterion. Early detection of bolting using the visual and microscopic criteria provided celery growers with periods of, respectively, 25 days and up to 35 days to consider harvesting earlier, before the length of the celery stems exceeded commercial standards. This method could be effective in minimizing financial losses due to bolting when coupled with agro-economic studies.

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Samuel Salazar-García, Elizabeth M. Lord, and Carol J. Lovatt

Inflorescence and flower development of the `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) were investigated at the macro- and microscopic level with three objectives: 1) to determine the time of transition from vegetative to reproductive growth; 2) to develop a visual scale correlating external inflorescence and flower development with the time and pattern of organogenesis; and 3) to quantify the effect of high (“on”) and low (“off”) yields on the flowering process. Apical buds (or expanding inflorescences) borne on summer shoots were collected weekly from July to August during an “on” and “off” crop year. Collected samples were externally described and microscopically analyzed. The transition from vegetative to reproductive condition probably occurred from the end of July through August (end of shoot expansion). During this transition the primary axis meristem changed shape from convex to flat to convex. These events were followed by the initiation of additional bracts and their associated secondary axis inflorescence meristems. A period of dormancy was not a prerequisite for inflorescence development. Continued production of secondary axis inflorescence meristems was observed from August to October, followed by anthesis seven months later. In all, eleven visual stages of bud development were distinguished and correlated with organogenesis to create a scale that can be used to predict specific stages of inflorescence and flower development. Inflorescence development was correlated with minimum temperature ≤15 °C, whereas yield had little effect on the timing of developmental events of individual inflorescence buds. However, the high yield of the “on” year reduced inflorescence number and increased the number of vegetative shoots. No determinate inflorescences were produced during the “on” year. For the “off” year, 3% and 42% of shoots produced determinate and indeterminate inflorescences, respectively.

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Samuel Salazar-García, Elizabeth M. Lord, and Carol J. Lovatt

The developmental stage at which the shoot primary axis meristem (PAM) of the `Hass' avocado (Persea americana Mill.) is committed to flowering was determined. Three-year-old trees were subjected to low-temperature (LT) treatments at 10/7 °C day/night with a 10-h photoperiod for 1 to 4 weeks followed by 25/20 °C day/night at the same photoperiod. Before LT treatment, apical buds of mature vegetative shoots consisted of a convex PAM with two lateral secondary axis inflorescence meristems lacking apical bracts each associated with an inflorescence bract. Apical buds did not change anatomically during LT treatment. However, the 3- and 4-week LT treatments resulted in inflorescences at 17% and 83% of apical buds, respectively. Trees receiving 2 weeks or less LT, including controls maintained at 25/20 °C, produced only vegetative shoots. Apical buds of 2-year-old trees receiving 3 weeks at 10/7 °C plus 1 week at 20/15 °C produced 100% inflorescences. GA3(100 mg·L-1) applied to buds 2 or 4 weeks after initiation of this LT treatment did not reduce the number of inflorescences that developed. `Hass' avocado apical buds were fully committed to flowering after 4 weeks of LT, but were not distinguishable anatomically from those that were not committed to flowering.