Role of sink-source relationships in chrysanthemum flower size and total biomass production

S.M.P. Carvalho, E. Heuvelink, J. Harbinson, O. van Kooten

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The present work was aimed at understanding and quantifying the effect of sink-source relationships on flower size, using chrysanthemum as a model system. Sink/source ratio was manipulated by flower bud removal (leaving one, two or four flowers, and a control), axillary shoot removal, and varying daily light integral. Furthermore, the influence of flower position within the stem on the flower size was investigated. All means applied to reduce sink/source ratio resulted in a significantly higher individual flower dry mass and area in plants with a fixed number of flowers. Nevertheless, control plants responded to supplementary assimilation light with an increased number of flowers rather than producing larger flowers. Flower position had a negligible effect on flower size in both disbudded and control plants, except that the second-order lateral flowers were significantly smaller than the first-order ones. Singly flowered plants without side shoots represented the greatest potential flower size; they had flowers up to 2.4 times heavier than the control plants. Total aerial plant dry mass was only reduced at very low sink strength treatments, whereas flower mass ratio showed a saturating response to the number of flowers per plant. The results indicate that individual flower size is very sensitive to total plant sink strength, but it does not change with plant source strength when the number of flowers is not manipulated
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-273
JournalPhysiologia Plantarum
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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