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Plant Reproductive Physiology


Development after fertilization
Maturity, ripening and senescens

Juvenile stage
Transitional stage
Maturity stage
Senescence stage

Vegetative growth and unable to flower even if plant grows an

environment for flowering
a physiological state of plant before flower differentiation
Flowering cannot be induced
plants often differ in appearance from the adult.

Phase length varies:

annual shorter eg. Weed will be at juvenile stage 4-5 d after germinated
perennial longer at juvenile stage
eg. in certain shrubs up to 40years


Simple primary leaf to trifoliate leaves

beans: adult compound leaf; juvenile simple leaf
leaves lobe
rapid growth

Usually, the basal part of tree is juvenility and the top is mature
or adult in physiology.



Long-day treatment - shorten the

juvenility form 5 10 year to 1 year
of birch
Grafting- speed up flowering of fruit
crops in 2-3 year.
GAs treatments- can induce flowering
in juvenility of ivy, cypress and fir.

Have both juvenile and mature tissue

May revert back to juvenile if environmental
conditions are right.
Involves the transition of a vegetative
meristem, producing leaves and stems, into
a floral meristem, producing flowers.

Flower Initiation and Development

a. Irreversible change in which to bud
(meristem) changes from growing
vegetative tissue to reproductive tissue
b. Improper conditions can cause flower buds
to abort
1. High temp
2. Moisture stress
c. Flowers can be induced naturally or
through PGR (plant growth regulators)

Stage where plants are ready to flower.

Flowering - ultimate expression of mature state

Changes influence by environment

Environment serve as expression changes regulator

Changes in physiology and morphology

Transformation of primodium of stem, leaf or
vegetative part to primodium reproductive organ
One way transformation
Many plants produce flowers independent of
environmental conditions

Factors influence transformation of the

juvenile into the mature:
1. Temperature Vernalization
2. Photoperiodism
3. Light intensity
4. Drought stress
5. Low fertility levels (especially N)

The final stage in a plants life cycle

a. May occur naturally or accelerated by environmental
conditions including pathogenic attack
b. Cell and tissues deteriorate
c. Partial senescence is when plant organs age and
eventually die
d. Complete senescence is when the whole plant dies.
Monocarpic plant flowering and fruiting once
Polycarpic plant many times/repeat

Four genetically regulated pathways to

flowering have been identified
1. The light-dependent pathway
2. The temperature-dependent pathway
3. The gibberellin-dependent pathway
4. The autonomous pathway
Plants can rely primarily on one pathway,
but all four pathways can be present


The autonomous pathway does not depend

on external cues except for basic nutrition
It allows day-neutral plants to count nodes
and remember node location


Autonomous Pathway--Plants Can Count

Upper Axillary Bud Released from Apical Dominance Lower Axillary Bud Released from Apical Dominance
5 nodes*

13 nodes*

5 nodes*

13 nodes*


Intact plant
Shoot removed Replacement shoot
*nodes = leaf bearing node

Intact plant

Shoot removed Replacement shoot


Autonomous Pathway--Plants Can Remember

Shoot Florally Determined

Shoot Not Florally Determined




Intact plant


Rooted shoot

rooted shoot

Intact plant

Rooted shoot

rooted shoot


Not-Florally Determined Plants are said not to

remember...Florally Determined plants are said to




Julien Tournois (1910) 1st found about LD

in flowering
George Klebs (1918) observe the
function of LD in flowering
Garner & Allard (1920) found photoperiod
relative duration of light and dark
towards control flowering of certain crops.
eg. tobacco flowering once expose to
short light period (SDP)


Hamner & Bonner (1938) phenomena

night break where dark disturbance during
day time are not/a bit effect but light
disturbance during night time inhibit
flowering (SDP) or initiate flowering (LDP)
Dark time more function in determine
reaction in photoperiod

Short days
Long days

Flowering response
of Japanese morning
glory (left) and black
henbane (right) to
daylength of 24-h
Note the prominent
flowers (arrows) in
Japanese morning
glory under short
days and in black
henbane under long
days . Plants of each
species under both
photoperiod regimes
are of the same age

1. Short day plant (SDP)

The plant can only flower under day length shorter than
its critical day length of 24 h cycle. eg. chrysanthemums
ie. the critical day length to induce flowering must be
less than some maximum.

2. Long day plant (LDP)

The plant can only flower under daylength longer than its
critical day length of 24 h cycle. eg. Chinese cabbage,
beet etc.
ie the critical day length must be longer than a minimum

3. Day neutral plant (DNP)

Without critical daylength, they can flower in any
day length of 24h cycle, if other conditions are
satisfied. eg. tomato, cucumber, egg plant and
bean. After bred for long time , most of crops are
not sensitive to day length, eg. early rice, spring
soybean, spring maize and cotton

Critical Day Period:

It is the duration of the photoperiod or the dark

period that ultimately determines whether the
plant has to go through vegetative growth or to
produce flowers.
referred as the day length of 24h cycle - the
shortest day length for LDP flower and the
longest day length for SDP flower.

The chemical nature of the receptor is a the

- biological compound that absorbs light
Two types : -Phytochrome far red (PFR)
-Phytochrome red (PR)
- interconvertible

* Plants measure the ratio of Pfr/Pr.

LDP would flower when the ratio is high
SDP would flower when the ratio is low

Since Pfr is labile and is broken down at night

or reverts back to Pr - the longer the night,
the lower the phytochrome (Pfr) content.
Thus, phytochrome is like the sand in an egg
timer; the relative amount of Pfr remaining
at the end of the night would be an
indication of the day length.

Flowering in SDP:
Short day plants flower when the night period is long.
In day light or red light, phytochrome red (Pr) is
converted to phytochrome far red (Pfr). The conversion
actually only requires a brief exposure to white or red
In the dark, Pfr is slowly converted back to Pr. A long
night means that there is a long time for the conversion.
Under short day conditions (long night) at the end of the
night period the concentration of Pfr is low.
In SDP, low Pfr concentration is the trigger for flowering.
Flowering in LDP:
Long day plants flower when the night period is short.
In day light (white or red) the Pr is converted to Pfr.
During periods when the day light period is long but
critically the dark period is short, Pfr does not have long
to breakdown in the dark. Consequently there remains a
higher concentration of Pfr.
In LDP, high Pfr concentration is the trigger to flowering.

Dark period more important in photoperiodism

reaction because interruption during night will
inhibit flowering in SDP but promote flowering in
In short day plants, Pr promotes flowering when Pfr
suppresses it, when it is vice versa in long day

Flowering hormone?
Leaves detected photoperiod (at least
one leaf must be present for the plant
to fllower)

The receptor of photoperiod is located within the

Photoperiodism sensor - leaf bud

Buds produce flowers

Bud meristem changes from vegetative to
flower growth

Stimulus transferred

Cut off all leaves after expose to photoperiod inhibit

Cut off all leaves 20 -36hrs later promote flowering

In 2005 a substance, mRNA (FL mRNA) was finally

isolated that was found to be moving from leaf to
flower meristem.

This mRNA provides a link between the phytochrome

system (the receptor), its activation of genes in the
leaf (mRNA synthesis) and the differentiation of the
meristem into the flower structure.
Florigen - name given to the proposed flowering


Flower industry eg. Chrysanthemum sdp

Selection of variety/cultivar for vegetable
and field crops

Manipulating Flowering Response

Use artificial light or dark to simulate


Light at night to lengthen day.

10 pm to 2 pm.

Cover with black cloth to shorten the day.

Vernalization the process by which

flowering is promoted by prolonged
exposure to the cold of a typical winter
plant expose to low T to initiate and promote

common in biennials and some perennial

reactions are varies among spesies/variety

eg. apple, cherry, pear, peaches

carrots, cabbage,
bulbs like tulip, onion
a. cold storage is used to preserve (sets)
bulbs during winter this causes the sets to
flower and produce seed in spring
b. to devernalize- sets are exposed to 27oC
for 2-3 weeks before planting

Temperature and time of vernalization

-412. Most efficient 1 2

Reaction between temperature and time:
- in the range of vernalization temperature, the lower T, the
shorter time.
- the lower temperature for vernalization the plant needs, the
longer time lasts.

Table 8-1 Temperature and time for vernalization of wheat

temperature range( )
Spring wheat
5 15
Semi winter wheat
3 6
10 15
Winter wheat
0 3
40 45

Kinetics of the vernalisation

effective on actively growing plant.
ie. growing plant under gone vegetative stage, seed stage
(annual) or bulb
- Seeds must imbibed water (50% of seed dry weight) and the
germination process has been initiated and exposed to low
temperature ( vernalized). The vernalized seeds are dried and
- other plants in particular the biennial eg. cabbage, must reach a
certain minimum size or age before they can be vernalized ie.
whole plant
In general, the plant flowering need long day period and higher
temperature after finishing vernalization, which induces flower

The site/part of vernalization is the growing point

(shoot apex)
eg. celery
- shoot apex exposed to low temperature,
other part of plant to normal (higher)
temperature, the plant can flower.
-shoot apex to normal (higher)
temperature, other part of plant low
temperature, the plant remain vegetative
The main part sensitive to low temperature is
shoot apical meristem - bud, apex meristems

Facultative (quantitative)


Flowering will appear earlier (faster) once

expose to low T eg. winter annual cereal

Absolute (obligate)


MUST expose to low T then flowering appear

eg. biennial plants (cabbage)
Exposure to desired period

Lang (1957) found that GA function =

vernalin, where GA promote flowering without
Vernalin hypothesis: After passing
vernalization, plant can form vernalin,which
can transfer from one part to others and
promote flower.
Vernalization only act the meristem of
shoot apex. The effect can transfer form
the cell to cell, not from organ to organ.



Low T

In relation to flowering and fruiting or duration of plant life, plants

are group into:
Perennial plants
Able to flower and produce seeds and fruit for an indefinite number of
growing seasons

- may be herbaceous or woody

-in deciduous plants all the leaves fall, and the tree is bare, at a
particular time of year
-in evergreen plants, the leaves drop throughout the year, and
so the plant is never completely bare
Annual plants
Grow, flower, and form fruits and seeds, and typically die within
one growing season
- usually herbaceous
Biennial plants
Have two-year life cycles
-they store energy the first year and flower the second year

1. Treatment with vernalization and devernalization

eg. onion for seed production
2. Induced crops to flower:
forcing plants for earlier or late bloom
blooms indoor
3. Selecting sowing date
different types and characters

SDP initiate flowering at low T. eg.

As supplementary or complimentary to each

Vernalisation cancellation
Before finishing vernalization, the effect will
lost under high temperature
Devernalization - 25 40
eg. vernalized onion bulbs expose to high
temperature after vernalisation

Direct planting flowering

Keep in warm temperature (2-3wks) not

Klebs (1918) ratio of carbohydrate with

inorganic nutrient esp N (C:N) high will promote
Kraus & Kraybill (US) flowering on tomato plants
was controlled by CHO:N level
CHO:N low delay flowering & less flower (N high)
CHO low, N low less vegetative part, less flower
CHO:N high faster and no of flower increase

there is no C:N critical for flowering