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Hormonal changes during flower development in floral tissues of Lilium

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Much effort has been focussed on better understanding the key signals that modulate floral senescence. Although ethylene is one of the most important regulators of floral senescence in several species, Lilium flowers show low sensitivity to ethylene; thus their senescence may be regulated by other hormones. In this study we have examined how (1) endogenous levels of hormones in various floral tissues (outer and inner tepals, androecium and gynoecium) vary throughout flower development, (2) endogenous levels of hormones in such tissues change in cut versus intact flowers at anthesis, and (3) spray applications of abscisic acid and pyrabactin alter flower longevity. Results show that floral tissues behave differently in their hormonal changes during flower development. Cytokinin and auxin levels mostly increased in tepals prior to anthesis and decreased later during senescence. In contrast, levels of abscisic acid increased during senescence, but only in outer tepals and the gynoecium, and during the latest stages. In addition, cut flowers at anthesis differed from intact flowers in the levels of abscisic acid and auxins in outer tepals, salicylic acid in inner tepals, cytokinins, gibberellins and jasmonic acid in the androecium, and abscisic acid and salicylic acid in the gynoecium, thus showing a clear differential response between floral tissues. Furthermore, spray applications of abscisic acid and pyrabactin in combination accelerated the latest stages of tepal senescence, yet only when flower senescence was delayed with Promalin. It is concluded that (1) floral tissues differentially respond in their endogenous variations of hormones during flower development, (2) cut flowers have drastic changes in the hormonal balance not only of outer and inner tepals but also of androecium and gynoecium, and (3) abscisic acid may accelerate the progression of tepal senescence in Lilium.

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Abscisic acid

GA4 :

Gibberellin 4


Indole-3-acetic acid


Jasmonic acid




Salicylic acid




Zeatin riboside


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We are very grateful to the Serveis Científico-Tècnics and Serveis dels Camps Experimentals (Universitat de Barcelona) for technical assistance. Support for the research was received through the prize ICREA Academia given to S.M.-B., funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya.

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Correspondence to S. Munné-Bosch.

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Arrom, L., Munné-Bosch, S. Hormonal changes during flower development in floral tissues of Lilium . Planta 236, 343–354 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00425-012-1615-0

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  • Abscisic acid
  • Cytokinins
  • Floral tissues
  • Flower senescence
  • Hormones
  • Lilium