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Morphological and physiological aspects of flower initiation and development in Tanacetum cinerariaefolium L.

Brown, P(Phillip) 1992 , 'Morphological and physiological aspects of flower initiation and development in Tanacetum cinerariaefolium L.', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This study investigated the morphological and physiological changes associated
with flower initiation and development in pyrethrum, Tanacetum cinerariaefolium L.
Detailed morphological descriptions of vegetative and floral apices have been
given and a scale of reproductive developmental stages based on these descriptions was
proposed. It was shown that each stage of apical development was associated with a
narrow range of apical diameters. The irreversible commitment to floral development
was observed to occur when the first involucral bract was initiated on the apical dome
and this point was characterised by a critical apical size. The apical diameter at this stage
was always approximately 220 pm.
A juvenile-like condition was described for pyrethrum seedlings, tissue culture
explants and vegetatively divided splits. During the period of juvenile-like growth the
plants were not competent to respond to normally inductive treatments. The
juvenile-like phase lasted until the plants had reached a minimum size or stage of
development, but did not depend on chronological age. The attainment of meristem
competence was associated with the release of lateral buds from apical dominance.
Terminal meristems were never observed to initiate flowers. Axillary meristems became
competent to flower a short time after being released from apical dominance, while
older axillary meristems were observed to lose their competence. It was noted that the
loss of competence to flower of lateral shoot meristems occurred after the release from
apical dominance of new axillary buds on each lateral shoot.
The effects of the following environmental conditions on flowering were
examined in a series of experiments; vernalisation, daylength, day temperature and
photon flux. The major environmental requirement for flower initiation in pyrethrum
was found to be a period of low night temperature or vernalisation. While flowering
occurred eventually under 'non-inductive' conditions through an autonomous induction
process, vemalising conditions were required to stimulate rapid flower initiation and
development. Plants displayed a quantitative response to vernalisation as longer periods
under vernalising conditions resulted in larger numbers of flowers, longer flower stems
and more rapid flower initiation and development. Night temperatures of less than
18 °C were required to provide the vernalisation stimulus, with two weeks at 6°C or
three weeks at 12°C demonstrated to be the minimum vernalisation requirement under short days and day temperatures of 20- 30°C.
Both day temperature and photon flux density conditions were shown to modify
the response to vemalisation. Low photon flux density conditions (350 gmol.m -2.s1 or
less) retarded flower initiation regardless of day temperature. High day temperatures
combined with low photon flux resulted in a devemalisation-like effect where the plants
were incapable of responding to otherwise inductive vemalising conditions. A true
devernalisation effect was also demonstrated under these conditions with the
vemalisation stimulus being reversed by a later high temperature / low photon flux
Daylength had a quantitative effect on both flower initiation and development,
with both processes promoted by long days. The inhibitory effect of short days was
thought to be mediated through reduced assimilate supply and not via the phyochrome
reactions. It was concluded that pyrethrum is a day-neutral species as its daylength
reaction was due to the daily light integral and not to photoperiod.
Autoradiography was used to follow the distribution of 14C photosynthate during
flower initiation and development under 'inductive' and 'non-inductive' conditions.
This method was also used to study the effect of devemalising conditions on assimilate
partitioning. The terminal shoot apex and young developing leaves were the main sinks
for assimilates under 'non-inductive' conditions. The sink strength of the axillary
shoots in 'inductive' conditions was observed to increase prior to the end of evocation
and they became the dominant sink for radiolabelled assimilates as floral development
progressed. 'Devemalising' conditions reduced the sink strength of the axillary buds,
or prevented the translocation of assimilates to them.
Radioimmunoassays were performed to quantify the changes in plant growth
regulator concentrations in mature leaf samples under 'inductive', 'non-inductive' and
'devernalising' conditions. Vernalising conditions stimulated an increase in the
concentration of gibberellins while 'devernalising' conditions resulted in a reduction in
the concentration of gibberellins to levels below that of unvemalised plants. The
concentration of the auxin indolylacetic acid declined under vernalising conditions while
sdevernalising' conditions prevented this decline. No evidence was found during this
study of a role for the cytokinins or abscisic acid in the flowering of pyrethrum.
However a possible role for these hormones could not be ruled out as all the assays
were performed on mature leaf samples and as such would not have detected any localised fluxes of hormones in other plant organs.
Two cultivation techniques for manipulating the flowering behaviour of
pyrethrum in the field were examined. The first involved the application of growth
retardants to reduce flower stem height and the degree of lodging at harvest. 'EL-500'
and 'Cultar' at rates equivalent to 5 Kg active ingredient per hectare or above were
shown to significantly reduce flower stem height and lodging. The growth retardants
also reduced flower yield if applied during the period of flower initiation. The most
effective control of lodging, without reducing flower yield, was found to result from
application of the growth retardant immediately prior to the period of maximum stem
extension, which under Tasmanian field conditions occurs in October. The growth
retardant 'Culiar' reduced the gibberellin concentration in treated plants, and the effects
of the growth retardant were reversible by application of gibberellin A3.
The effect of trimming on the flowering of plants in the field was also examined.
Multiple trimming treatments were shown to be the best strategy for promoting
vegetative growth during the normal flowering period. Slashing plants to a height of
approximately three centimetres above ground level during October and November,
when the inductive vernalising conditions no longer prevail, significantly reduced the
flower yield and increased the yield of vegetatively divided splits. This is of economic
value in field nurseries where multiplication of planting stock is achieved through
vegetative division of nursery stock.
The process(es) of flower initiation and development were discussed in light of
the experiments detailed above.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Brown, P(Phillip)
Keywords: Pyrethrum (Plant), Pyrethrum (Plant)
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 1992 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 229-248). Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 1993

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