Journal Article

Critical night length for bud set and its variation in two photoperiodic ecotypes of <i>Betula pendula</i>

Anneli Viherä-Aarnio, Risto Häkkinen and Olavi Junttila

in Tree Physiology

Volume 26, issue 8, pages 1013-1018
Published in print August 2006 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online August 2006 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI:
Critical night length for bud set and its variation in two photoperiodic ecotypes of Betula pendula

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We studied the variation in critical night length for bud set in two photoperiodic ecotypes (two latitudinally distant stands) of silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) in three phytotron experiments. Seeds from 21 open-pollinated mother trees in a southern (Tuusula, 60° N) and a northern (Kittilä, 67° N) Finnish stand were germinated and grown for 4 weeks in a 24-h photoperiod in a greenhouse and then moved to different night length treatments at 18 °C for 4 to 6 weeks. Night lengths from 5 to 8.5 h were used for southern origin seedlings and from 1 to 4.5 h for northern origin seedlings. At the end of the treatments, apical bud set was observed and the percentage of seedlings with bud set calculated for each treatment and tree progeny. The critical night lengths (CNL) for 50% bud set were determined separately for seedlings from each mother tree by regression analysis. In both ecotypes, the mean percentage of seedlings with bud set was lowest for the shortest night lengths and increased rapidly as night lengths increased. Mean CNL with its 95% confidence interval for the southern and northern ecotypes was 6.3 ± 0.2 and 3.1 ± 0.3 h, respectively. The CNL of the two ecotypes differed significantly in three experiments. Within-ecotype variance of the CNL was significantly higher in the northern ecotype (0.484) than in the southern ecotype (0.150). Significant differences in CNL were detected between individual mother trees of the southern ecotype, but not between mother trees of the northern ecotype. The ranking of individual mother trees, based on CNL, differed in the three experiments.

Keywords: annual rhythm; climatic adaptation; critical day length; growth cessation; photoperiod

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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