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Rui Wang, Yuqing Gui, Tiejun Zhao, Masahisa Ishii, Masatake Eguchi, Hui Xu, Tianlai Li, and Yasunaga Iwasaki

form stems, leaves, roots, and other vegetative organs and is then transferred to reproductive organs from bud formation. Thus, floral initiation of tomato seedlings is an important transition from vegetative growth to reproductive growth and also an

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Tory Schmidt, Don C. Elfving, James R. McFerson, and Matthew D. Whiting

, research on biennial bearing focused on effective thinning techniques, but more recently, synthetic bioregulators have proven effective at either promoting or inhibiting floral initiation in apple. By applying a flowering promoter such as naphthaleneacetic

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J.W. White, H. Chen, X. Zhang, D.J. Beattie, and H. Grossman

Floral initiation and development of greenhouse and growth room-grown Aquilegia × hybrida Sims cultivars were studied using a scanning electron microscope. All greenhouse-grown cultivars initiated floral buds before cold treatment, ≈ 5 months after sowing. Floral initiation occurred at the apical meristem and proceeded acropetally on an elongated conical axis in the sequence: sepals, petals, stamens, stamenodia, and carpels. In a second experiment, 13 Aquilegia cultivars, three of which had been used in the first experiment, were grown as seedlings in a growth room at 20C under an 8-, 12-, 16-, or 20-hr photoperiod, each totaling 10.2 mol·day-1·m-2 irradiance from cool-white fluorescent lamps. Here, floral initiation was absent even after 7 months from sowing, presumably because there was no diurnal variation in irradiance or temperature.

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Bridget M. Lamp, Joseph H. Connell, Roger A. Duncan, Mario Viveros, and Vito S. Polito

Scanning electron microscopy was used to examine almond [Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb (syn. Prunus amygdalus Batsch, Amygdalus communis L.)] flower bud development for three cultivars (Nonpareil, Carmel, and Butte) from four California locations (which span the range of almond production in California) for 2 years, and for `Nonpareil' in a single location for a third year. The objectives were to document timing of floral developmental events and to better understand the extent of variation that exists within and among cultivars, locations, and years. Results indicated that the time of floral initiation relative to hull split varied among cultivars. Median time for floral initiation in `Nonpareil' was more than 3 weeks after the onset of hull split. For `Butte' and `Carmel', median time of floral initiation preceded the onset of hull split. Extensive variation in the timing of bud development events within a cultivar was apparent. Timing of developmental events varied among locations, but no patterns emerged consistent with the north to south range which spanned 4°15' latitude and 520 km. Among years, development occurred earliest in 1997, a relatively warm year, and was delayed in 1998 and 1999, relatively cool years. Results indicate an earlier onset of floral initiation than reported in the classical literature on the subject.

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Michael R. Evans, Harold F. Wilkins, and Wesley P. Hackett

Exogenous foliar spray applications of gibberellic acid (GA3) applied at 7- or 14-day intervals providing 50 or 125 μg per plant inhibited long-day (LD) floral initiation in poinsettia [Euphorbia pulcherrima (Willd. ex. Klotzsch)]. Periodic application of GA3 resulted in an additional number of nodes being produced by the plant before floral initiation equivalent to the number of nodes over which GA3 was applied. Further, GA, application eliminated the nodal position dependence of the long-day node number (LDNN) of axillary meristems observed in control plants. It was concluded that GA3 application inhibited the inclusion of nodes into the LDNN count and thus inhibited ontogenetic aging of the meristem. Exogenous application of GA, also inhibited LD floral initiation, while application of GA4 had no effect. Application of GA7 delayed LD floral initiation, but plants did initiate cyathia by the termination of the experiment. All gibberellins increased the average internode lengths similarly. The gibberllin-biosynthesis inhibitors chlormequat and paclobutrazol had no effect on LD floral initiation when applied as single or multiple foliar sprays or as soil drenches, although heights and internode lengths were reduced by application of the inhibitors. The LDNN of plants grown at 31C was significantly higher than of plants grown at 16, 21, or 26C. All plants eventually initiated cyathia regardless of temperature. When plants were grown under a range of day/night temperatures, an increase in the LDNN occurred only when plants were grown at 31C during the day. Chemical names used: 2-chloroethyl-trimethyl-ammonium chloride (chlormequat); (+/-)-(R*,R*)-β -(4-chlorophenyl)methyl-α -(1,1-dimethylethyl)-1-H-1,2,4-triazole-1-ethanol (paclobutrazol).

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Richard L. Harkess and Robert E. Lyons

A study was undertaken to determine the rate of floral initiation in Rudbeckia hirta. R. hirta plants were grown to maturity, 14-16 leaves, under short days (SD). Paired controls were established by placing half of the plants under long days (LD) with the remainder left under SD. Beginning at the start of LD (day 0), five plants were harvested daily from each photoperiod group for twenty days. Harvested meristems were fixed in 2% paraformaldehyde - 2.5% glutaraldehyde in 0.1 M sodium cacodylate buffer (pH 7.0) for 24 hrs, dehydrated in an ethanol series, embedded in paraffin and sectioned at 8 μm. Serial sections were stained with Methyl-green Pyronin, with adjacent sections treated with RNase for nucleic acid comparison. All events of floral initiation were identified, The results of limited inductive photoperiod indicate that 16-18 LD were required for flowering.

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Rina Kamenetsky and Jacob Blaustein

The annual life cycle and development of the monocarpic shoot of some ornamental Allium species from Central Asia and the Mediterranean area have been followed from the time of meristem dome initiation in the axil of a mother plant leaf, through formation of scale, leaf and flower primordia. There are three periods of meristem activity from apex initiation to flower formation. Detailed analysis of inflorescence development has been carried out by Scanning Electronic Microscope (SEM). The life span of the Allium monocarpic shoot can be as long as 18 months. Climatic variations between Central Asian and Mediterranean areas lead to differences in the time of leaf sprout and flowering of species from the same taxonomic group. The principal mechanism of floral initiation is similar for species from both areas. Knowledge of the structure and development of the shoot will be useful for improvement of an optimal program of ornamental Allium cultivation.

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Raymond Kessler and Stan P. Myers

Early development of lateral buds is demonstrated as one of the evocation events in Kalanchoes (Kalanchoe blossfeldiana Poelln.). Lateral buds of `Cactus Candy', `Gelbe Melody', and `Jupiter' that were ≈5 mm long or less showed no signs of a change to the reproductive state after 21 short days. However, larger lateral buds for `Jupiter' did show floral initiation while those of `Cactus Candy' and `Gelbe Melody' did not. Studies of the vascular arrangement indicate the presence of four dorsal and four ventral bundles connecting leaves to the stem. Vascular connections to lateral buds arise from vascular cambium but do not appear to connect to any of the bundles that supply leaves.

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Charlotte M. Guimond, Preston K. Andrews, and Gregory A. Lang

Flower initiation and development in `Bing' sweet cherry (Prunus avium L.) was examined using scanning electron microscopy. There was a 1- to 2-week difference in the time of initiation of flower buds on summer pruned current season shoots (P) compared to buds borne on unpruned shoots (U) or spurs (S). By late July, this difference was obvious in morphological development. The P buds had already formed floral primordia, while the S and U buds showed little differentiation in the meristem until early August. In general, buds from unpruned shoots were similar developmentally to spur buds. By late August, primordial differentiation was similar in the buds from all the wood types; however, buds from pruned shoots were significantly larger (838 μm) than buds from spurs (535 μm) and unpruned shoots (663 μm). Early summer pruning may shift allocation of resources from terminal shoot elongation to reproductive meristem development at the base of current season shoots. The similarity in reproductive bud development between spurs and unpruned shoots, given the difference in active terminal growth, might suggest that developmental resources are inherently more limiting in reproductive buds on spurs.

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Richard J. Heerema*, Ted M. De Jong, and Steven A. Weinbaum

Spurs are the primary bearing unit in mature `Nonpareil' almond (Prunus dulcis (Mill.) D.A. Webb) trees. Our objective was to determine whether almond spurs behave autonomously with respect to various biological activities throughout the season. If autonomous, a spur's carbohydrate demands are met primarily by its own leaves and, therefore, the sink to source ratio of the spur itself is expected to be closely linked to its growth and development. In these experiments almond spurs differing in leaf area and/or fruit number were monitored for leaf development, fruit set, floral initiation, spur survival and carbohydrate storage. Previous-season spur leaf area had no relation to the number of leaves preformed within the dormant vegetative bud or final spur leaf area in the current season, but spurs which fruited in the previous season began spring leaf expansion later and current-season spur fruiting was associated with lower spur leaf area. There was little or no relationship between final percentage fruit set at the spur level and spur leaf area in either the current or previous seasons. Current-season spur leaf area was positively related to both spur flower bud number and spur winter survival. Carbohydrate storage in dormant spurs increased with increasing previous-season spur leaf area. These data are consistent with the concept of spur autonomy especially with regards to spur activities late in the season. The relationships of some of these same spur parameters to spur light exposure are currently being investigated.