Plant Growth Regulation

, Volume 11, Issue 1, pp 37–43 | Cite as

Ethylene and flower senescence

  • Michael S. Reid
  • Men-Jen Wu


The end of the relatively short life of carnations held in air is associated with climacteric rises in ethylene production and respiration, and coordinate rises in activity of the enzymes of the ethylene biosynthetic pathway. Carnation sensescence is associated with derepression of specific genes, increased polyribosome activity, and major changes in patterns of protein synthesis. Isotopic competition assays indicate the presence in carnation petals of ethylene binding activity with the expected characteristics of the physiological ethylene receptor. Inhibition of ethylene production and/or ethylene binding (whether in selected varieties, or by treatment with chemicals) results in longer-lived carnations. Examination of other flowers shows that the carnation is not a universal paradigm for flower senescence. The response to ethylene varies widely, and in many species petal wilting occurs without any apparent involvement of ethylene.


Ethylene Plant Physiology Protein Synthesis Specific Gene Biosynthetic Pathway 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael S. Reid
    • 1
  • Men-Jen Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental HorticultureUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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