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Regulation of flower development in cultured ears of maize (Zea mays L.)

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Young ears of maize were cultured in two different liquid media containing either kinetin (KN) or kinetin + gibberellic acid (KN + GA3) in order to manipulate stamen and gynoecium development. In KN medium, stamens developed and gynoecia aborted in the flowers of the cultured immature ears. In the KN + GA3 medium, however, ovaries with silks developed and stamens aborted. These differential morphological events were recorded with SEM photomicrographs at regular intervals after excision of ear inflorescences. In addition, the mitotic activity in the developing or aborting organs was determined over a 75-h period. It increased from 6% to 14% in developing organs (i.e. stamens in KN medium, and gynoecia in KN + GA3 medium) and gradually decreased to 1% in the degenerating organs (i.e. gynoecia in KN medium, and stamens in KN + GA3 medium) by 45 h of culture. The mitotic activity reached zero in degenerating flower organs by 75 h of culture. Whether these differential sensitivities to the exogenously applied members of these two plant growth regulator classes are unique to our in vitro system or reflect a more general control feature of in vivo inflorescences must await further clarification.

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Correspondence to V. R. Bommineni.

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Bommineni, V.R., Greyson, R.I. Regulation of flower development in cultured ears of maize (Zea mays L.). Sexual Plant Reprod 3, 109–115 (1990). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00198854

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Key words

  • Zea mays
  • Ear initials
  • Kinetin
  • Gibberellic acid
  • Male and female flowers
  • Development