Journal Article

Developmental stages of cultivated strawberry flowers in relation to chilling sensitivity

Maria Teresa Ariza, Carmen Soria and Elsa Martínez-Ferri


Published on behalf of Annals of Botany Company

Volume 7, issue
Published online March 2015 | e-ISSN: 2041-2851 | DOI:

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  • Plant Reproduction and Propagation
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry


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Environmental factors affecting flower development may limit the yields of fruiting crops worldwide. In temperate regions, chilling temperatures during flower development can compromise fruit production, but their negative effects vary depending on the differing susceptibilities of each developmental stage. The cultivated strawberry (Fragaria× ananassa Duch.) is widely grown worldwide but financial returns are influenced by sudden shifts to chilling temperatures occurring during the cropping cycle. Despite this important limitation, knowledge of F.× ananassa flower development is lacking, in contrast to the diploid wild-type strawberry (F. vesca). In this study we describe steps in floral development of cultivated strawberry and define their vulnerability to chilling temperatures. To achieve this, flower buds from strawberry plants of cv. ‘Camarosa’ were labelled and monitored from bud initiation until anthesis. Description of morphological and functional changes during flower development was based on histological sections and scanning electron microscopy. To determine the impact of low temperatures at different developmental stages, plants carrying buds of different sizes were chilled at 2 °C for 24 h. Several parameters related to male and female gametophyte development were later evaluated in flowers as they approached anthesis. Fragaria× ananassa flower development was divided into 16 stages according to landmark events. These stages were similar to those documented for F. vesca but three new additional intermediate stages were described. Timing of developmental processes was achieved by correlating developmental staging with specific bud sizes and days before anthesis. Time to reach anthesis from early bud stages was 17–18 days. During this period, we detected four critical periods vulnerable to low temperatures. These were mostly related to male gametophyte development but also to injury to female organs at late developmental stages. These results provide the essential groundwork on floral biology of cultivated strawberry that is a prerequisite for successful comparative studies of cold tolerance among genotypes during flower formation.

Keywords: Critical periods; flower development; flower differentiation; Fragaria × ananassa; low temperature; pistil; pollen

Journal Article.  5932 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Reproduction and Propagation ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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