Causes of Flowering of Long-Day Potato Species under Short-Day and Cold-Night Conditions

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Flowering and tuber formation in high-mountain potato species Solanum sparsipilum Bitt., S. acaule Bitt., S. punae Juz., S. demissum Lindl., and a tuber crop Ullucus tuberosus Caldas. were investigated. All these species are characterized by absolute requirement of long day-length for flowering and short day-length for tuberization. Plants were grown under the following conditions: natural day-length with a photoperiod of 17 h or longer (treatment 1), short days with a photoperiod of 12 h and warm nights (15–20°C) (treatment 2), and short days with cold nights (5–6°C) (treatment 3). In the first treatment, plants produced flowers but no tubers. In the second treatment, plants produced tubers but no flowers. In the third treatment, plants produced both flowers and tubers. In leaves of S. acaule and U. tuberosus, the levels of gibberellins and ABA were determined. A high activity of gibberellins in the third treatment was similar to that in the first treatment, whereas high ABA activity in the third treatment was similar to that in the second treatment. It is supposed that cold nights retard the destruction of GA in plants during the dark period of diurnal cycle and ensure a permanently high level of gibberellins, which facilitates flowering of long-day species under short-day conditions. The high level of ABA is considered a plant response to short-day conditions, which is favorable for tuberization.

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