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91 Treatment of Syngoniu 'Maya Red' with Thidiazuron in Attempt
iMaston Science to Induce Basal Branching
Lr R.J. Henny and W.C. Fooshee
University of Florida, IFAS
SEP 3019 central Florida Research and Education Center Apopka
2807 Binion Road, Apopka, Florida 32703
U rivers Of Forida CFREC-Apopka Research Report RH-91-1
Introduction: Syngonim" 'Maya Red' is an attractive plant with pink juvenile
leaves. However, Syngonium 'Maya Red' does not produce basal shoots and new
leaves lose their pink coloration once mature foliage is produced, which is
typically after 8-10 leaves develop and plants start to vine. Consequently
'Maya Red' has not become a major Syngonium cultivar. Hopefully, inducing
basal shoot development would make a more aesthetic plant and perhaps delay
foliar color loss by inhibiting vining.
In some instances plants with strong apical dominance have been
stimulated to branch when treated with synthetic cytokinins. One such
cytokinin, N6-benzyladenine (BA) has been used successfully to increase
branching in Anthurium (4), Dieffenbachia (2), Peperomia (1) and
Spathiphyllum (3). However, in preliminary tests with Syngonium 'Maya Red',
BA treatment was not successful at rates up to 500 ppm (Henny, unpublished
data). Some enlargement of axillary buds occurred following BA treatment but
development soon ceased. Subsequent removal of the central leader failed to
stimulate more than a single bud to grow out.
Thidiazuron is the active ingredient in Dropp" 50 WP (NOR-AM Chem Co.,
Wilmington, DE), a commercial cotton defoliant, Previous research by Mok et
al. (6) had shown that it possessed strong cytokinin activity when
incorporated into the tissue culture medium used for beans. If effective in
stimulating branching, thidiazuron, a 50% wettable powder, would be easier to
mix and apply than BA.
Materials and Methods: Sixty rooted liners, from a 72-celled plastic tray,
were repotted into 4-inch pots filled with VerGro container mix (Verlite Co.
Tampa, Fl) June 8, 1989. The same day plants were treated with thidiazuron
at rates of 0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 ppm by applying 10 ml of test solution at
the plant base; ten plants were treated at each rate of thidiazuron. This
experiment was conducted in a shaded greenhouse under natural photoperiod
with a maximum light level of 2000 fc and maximum air temperature of 95 F (35
C). Fertilization consisted of 2.5 grams (1/2 teaspoon) of 19N-6P20s-12K20)
Osmocote per pot.
Data, recorded twelve weeks after treatment, included plant height
(vine length), length and width of the largest leaf, fresh weight of shoots
and roots (with soil washed off) and number of basal buds longer than 1 cm.
Results and Discussion: Syngonium 'Maya Red' was responsive to treatment
with thidiazuron. Treated plants produced numerous elongated basal buds at
and beneath the soil surface, but most did not continue to develop and
produce new leaves. The average number of elongated basal buds was 0.0, 4.7,
7.8, 13.6, 18.1, and 10.7 at the 0, 1, 5, 10, 50, and 100 ppm treatments
respectively (Table 1). Production of elongated buds at rates of 5 ppm and
higher was accompanied by enlargement of stem tissues at the plant base
including portions that were callus- or gall-like giving treated plants an
In addition, plants treated with thidiazuron were shorter, had smaller
leaves and less shoot and root fresh weight than untreated controls (Table
1). Effects became greater as the level of thidiazuron increased. At high
thidiazuron rates (50 and 100 ppm) almost no roots remained indicating root
loss following treatment since all plants were well-rooted initially. A
similar response was observed previously with Alocasia X Chantrieri (5).
Results from this experiment indicate that thidiazuron is a much more
active compound than BA; in fact treatment rates of 5-10 ppm thidiazuron
were injurious. Therefore, the sensitivity of Syngonium to thidiazuron
levels requires precise methods of application to prevent disruption of
normal plant growth.
Two major problems must be addressed for thidiazuron to be effective for
induction of basal shoots in Syngonium. The first is to prevent the
deleterious effects on root development, and second, methods must be found to
stimulate continued growth and development of elongated basal buds. These
aspects of treatment are currently being studied.
Table 1. Effect of thidiazuron (DroppR 50 WP) on overall plant growth and
production of elongated basal buds in Syngonium 'Maya Red'.
Thidiazuron Total no. Plant Leaf Fresh Weight
cone elongated height length width shoots roots
(ppm) buds (cm) (cm) (cm) (g) (g)
0 0.0 131.4 22.5 6.6 42.6 29.8
1 4.7 101.1 20.2 5.9 35.8 24.9
5 7.8 79.8 19.4 5.4 35.2 15.3
10 13.6 58.0 17.8 5.1 32.3 14.8
50 18.1 16.6 9.4 4.7 17.9 2.3
100 10.7 13.0 7.8 4.1 10.1 1.4
LSD (5%) 5.0 42.6 3.4 0.6 7.7 5.4
1. Henny, R.J. 1985. BA induces lateral branching of Peperomia
obtusifolia. HortScience 20(1):115-116.
2. Henny, R.J. 1986. Increasing basal shoot production in a nonbranching
Dieffenbachia hybrid with BA. HortScience 21(6):1386-1388.
3. Henny, R.J. and W.C. Fooshee. 1985. Induction of basal shoots in
Spathiphyllum 'Tasson' following treatment with BA. HortScience
4. Henny, R.J. and W.C. Fooshee. 1989. BA-treatment stimulates basal shoot
production in Anthurium X 'Southern Blush'. CFREC-Apopka Research Report
5. Henny, R.J. and W.C. Fooshee. 1990. Thidiazuron stimulates basal bud
and shoot formation in Alocasia X Chantriere Andre'. HortScience
6. Mok, M.C., D.W.S. Mok, D.J. Armstrong, K. Shudo, Y. Isogai and T.
Okamota. 1982. Cytokinin activity of N-phenyl-NW-1,2,3-thiadiazol-5-
ylurea (Thidiazuron). Phytochemistry 21:1509-1511.