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Loss of flower bud vigour in the Mediterranean shrub, Cistus albidus L. at advanced developmental stages

Research output: Contribution to Journal/MagazineJournal articlepeer-review

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>05/2010
<mark>Journal</mark>Plant Biology
Issue number3
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)475-483
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


To better understand aging in perennials, age-related changes in the physiology of leaves and flower buds of the Mediterranean shrub, Cistus albidus L. were evaluated. Two groups of different ages (5 and 10 years old), both at advanced developmental stages but of similar size, were compared. Total plant biomass, biomass produced per apical meristem and levels of cytokinins, abscisic acid and jasmonic acid in leaves and flower buds, as well as flower production, were measured. No differences in plant size, vegetative growth rates and levels of phytohormones in leaves were observed between 5- and 10-year-old plants. However, they showed significant differences in flower bud development; the older plants having reduced vigour, with 29.6% of flowers reaching anthesis compared to 52.5% in the younger plants. Furthermore, endogenous concentrations of zeatin and abscisic acid in flower buds at stage I (start of flower organ formation) were 61% and 41%, respectively, smaller in 10- than in 5-year-old plants. At stage II (with all flower organs formed), zeatin and abscisic acid concentrations decreased by ca. 90% and 80%, respectively, but differences between age groups were still evident (60% and 29% for zeatin and abscisic acid, respectively). Jasmonic acid levels in flower buds decreased by 80% from stage I to II, but did not differ between age groups. Despite reductions in flower bud vigour, total number of flowers per individual was not significantly different between age groups, so that an age-related loss in reproductive vigour at the organ level did not lead to a decrease in flower production at the whole plant level.