, Volume 250, Issue 6, pp 1273–1281 | Cite as

Anatomical and biochemical studies of bicolored flower development in Muscari latifolium

  • Yinyan Qi
  • Qian Lou
  • Huibo Li
  • Juan Yue
  • Yali LiuEmail author
  • Yuejin WangEmail author
Original Article


The inflorescence of the broad-leafed grape hyacinth, Muscari latifolium, shows an interesting, two-tone appearance with the upper flowers being pale blue and the lower ones purple. To elucidate the mechanism of the differential color development, anatomical research was carried out and a cytological study of the colored protoplasts in which the shapes of the cells accumulating anthocyanin were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Next, vacuolar pH was recorded using a pH meter with a micro combination pH electrode, and the sap’s metal-ion content was measured by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The anthocyanin and co-pigment composition was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Chemical analyses reveal that the difference in metal-ion content of the two parts was not great. The vacuolar pHs of the upper and lower flowers were 5.91 and 5.84, respectively, with the difference being nonsignificant. HPLC results indicate that the dihydroflavonol and flavonol contents are also very similar in the two sorts of flower. However, the upper flowers contained only delphinidin, whereas the lower flowers also contained cyanidin. The total anthocyanin content in the lower flowers was 4.36 mg g−1, which is approximately seven times higher than in the upper flowers, while the delphinidin content is four times higher. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis established that the two-tone flower was a result of different expressions of the F35H, F3H and DFR genes, and these lead to different amounts of anthocyanin.


Anthocyanin Color development Metal ions Grape hyacinth Protoplast 



Royal Horticultural Society color chart


International Commission on Illumination



We would like to thank Dr. Weirong Xu at Ningxia University for helpful suggestions. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant no. 31170652).

Conflict of interest

We declare that we have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of HorticultureNorthwest A&F UniversityXianyangPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of ForestryNorthwest A&F UniversityXianyangPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops(Northwest Region)Ministry of AgricultureXianyangPeople’s Republic of China
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology in Arid AreasNorthwest A&F UniversityXianyangPeople’s Republic of China

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