Interactions of temperature and photoperiod in the control of flowering of latitudinal and altitudinal populations of wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca)


  • Ola M. Heide,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Ecology and Natural Resource Management, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, PO Box 5003, NO-1432 Ås, Norway
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  • Anita Sønsteby

    1. Arable Crops Division, Section Kise, Norwegian Institute for Agriculture and Environmental Research, NO-2350 Nes Hedmark, Norway
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Floral induction and development requirements of a range of latitudinal and altitudinal Norwegian populations of the wild strawberry Fragaria vesca L. have been studied in controlled environments. Rooted runner plants were exposed to a range of photoperiods and temperatures for 5 weeks for floral induction and then transferred to long day (LD) at 20°C for flower development. A pronounced interaction of temperature and photoperiod was shown in the control of flowering. At 9°C, flowers were initiated in both short day (SD) and LD conditions, at 15 and 18°C in SD only, whereas no initiation took place at 21°C regardless of daylength conditions. The critical photoperiod for SD floral induction was about 16 h and 14 h at 15 and 18°C, respectively, the induction being incomplete at 18°C. The optimal condition for floral induction was SD at 15°C. A minimum of 4 weeks of exposure to such optimal conditions was required. Although the populations varied significantly in their flowering performance, no clinal relationship was present between latitude of origin and critical photoperiod. Flower development of SD-induced plants was only marginally advanced by LD conditions, while inflorescence elongation and runnering were strongly enhanced by LD at this stage. The main shift in these responses took place at photoperiods between 16 and 17 h. Unlike all other populations studied, a high-latitude population from 70°N (‘Alta’) had an obligatory vernalization requirement. Although flowering and fruiting in its native Subarctic environment and after overwintering in the field in south Norway, this population did not flower in the laboratory in the absence of vernalization, even with 10 or 15 weeks of exposure to SD at 9°C. Flowering performance in the field likewise indicated a vernalization requirement of this high-latitude population.