The effect of irradiance, defoliation, and bulb size on flowering of Nerine bowdenii W. Watson (Amaryllidaceae)
Large Nerine bowdenii bulbs (>14 cm in circumference) were exposed to low light intensities for different periods during two successive growing seasons. The flowering percentage and number of florets in the current season's inflorescence were recorded at antbesis. Small and large bulbs were subjected to continual defoliation starting at different times during the growing season. Bulbs were dissected at planting (26 Sept. 1992) and on 12 Jan. 1993 (nondefoliated control bulbs) to determine growth and developmental stage. At antbesis, inflorescences were harvested and the florets per inflorescence were counted. After anthesis in the fall, all bulbs were dissected and the following variables recorded: 1) percentage flowering, quiescence, or abortion of the current season's inflorescence; 2) developmental stage of quiescent inflorescences; 3) number of florets in the outermost inflorescence; 4) developmental stage of the innermost inflorescence; 5) number of leases or leaf bases in each growth unit: 6) number of daughter bulbs: and 7) dry weight of new leaf bases. There were three reasons for nonflowering of the bulbs, viz., failure to initiate an inflorescence, inflorescences remaining quiescent, and inflorescence abortion. Individual florets that had not reached stage "Late G" (gynoecium elongated, carpels fused) at the start of rapid inflorescence elongation aborted. The more florets that aborted, the greater the probability that the entire inflorescence aborted. The inflorescence was more vulnerable to stress during the first half of the growing season due to its relatively weak position in the hierarchy of sinks within the bulb.