A Comparative Study between Evergreen and Deciduous Daylily Species Reveals the Potential Contributions of Winter Shoot Growth and Leaf Freezing Tolerance to Foliar Habits

Abstract

Evergreen ornamental plants can supply year-round aesthetic value and strong ecological benefits in comparison to deciduous species. However, less attention has been paid to the cause of foliar habits, especially in herbaceous perennials. A comparative study on evergreen and deciduous species with close relationships could help to uncover the factors that determine foliar habits when sibling mutants are absent. Three independent experiments were conducted in the present study. Experiment 1 was focused on the changes in the percentage of green leaves (PGL) between evergreen daylilies (Hemerocallis aurantiaca Baker) and the deciduous species (Hemerocallis fulva L.). The results showed that their foliar habits were consistent with those of previous reports but could be influenced dramatically by the air temperature. The leaf freezing tolerance (LFT) and relevant morphological, physiological and biochemical variations in leaf tissues in addition to the shoot growth status were determined during Experiments 2 and 3 when comparing natural cold acclimation to de-acclimation. Correlation analyses between the PGL and other indices indicated that the winter shoot growth probably maintained the green leaves of the evergreen daylilies, while a strong LFT might facilitate the defoliation of deciduous species. Furthermore, the dormant deciduous daylily is more freezing-tolerant than the ever-growing evergreen species. This study also possesses practical value for plants with variant green periods in landscaping.

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Abbreviations

DIA:

Digital image analysis

EL:

Electrolyte leakage

GDD:

Growing degree days

HSB:

Hue, saturation and brightness

LFT:

Leaf freezing tolerance

LT:

Low temperature

LT50 :

Lethal temperature causing 50% injury

LW:

Leaf width

MDA:

Malondialdehyde

NFL:

Number of the functional leaves

PGL:

Percentage of green leaves

RCC:

Relative chlorophyll content

REC:

Relative electrolyte conductivity

ROS:

Reactive oxygen species

SD:

Short-day

SER:

Shoot elongation rate

SOD:

Superoxide dismutase

SP:

Soluble protein

TSS:

Total soluble sugar

WC:

Water content

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Major Agricultural Technology Cooperative Promotion Plan of Zhejiang Province (2018XTTGHH01).

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Correspondence to Jiaping Zhang.

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Li, D., Xia, Y., Lou, J. et al. A Comparative Study between Evergreen and Deciduous Daylily Species Reveals the Potential Contributions of Winter Shoot Growth and Leaf Freezing Tolerance to Foliar Habits. J Plant Growth Regul 39, 1030–1045 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00344-019-10042-x

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Keywords

  • Evergreen daylily
  • Digital image analysis
  • Natural cold acclimation
  • Winter shoot growth
  • Leaf freezing tolerance
  • Superoxide dismutase