Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting nature.com. You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

Phytoplasma induced free-branching in commercial poinsettia cultivars

Abstract

Free-branching poinsettia cultivars that produce numerous axillary shoots are essential for propagating desirable multi-flowered poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima Wild. Klotz). For more than a decade, a biological agent has been suspected to cause free-branching in poinsettias. Attempts to identify the branching agent have failed. Isolation of the pathogen was accomplished using a living host and it was concluded that an unculturable phytoplasma is the cause of free-branching in poinsettias. This is the first reported example of a pathogenic phytoplasma as the causal agent of a desirable and economically important trait.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    Kaplan, J.K. 1992. A blooming industry. Agricultral Research 12: 4–7.

    Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Ecke Jr, P., Matkin, O.A., and Hartley, D.E. 1990. The Poinsettia Manual, 3rd ed. Paul Ecke Poinsettias, Encinitas, CA.

    Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Floriculture Crops 1995 Summary. 1996. National Agricultural Statistics Service, USDA, Washington, D.C.

  4. 4

    Dole, J.M. and Wilkins, H.F. 1991. Vegetative and reproductive characteristics of poinsettia altered by a graft-transmissible agent. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 116: 307–311.

    Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Dole, J.M., Wilkins, H.F., and Desborough, S.L. 1993. Investigation on the nature of a grafttransmissible agent in poinsettia. Can. J. Bot. 71: 1097–1101.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    Ruiz-Sifre, G.V. 1993. Further studies in the transmission of poinsettia branching agent. Ph.D. thesis, Oklahoma State University. Stillwater, Oklahoma.

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Stimart, D.P. 1983. Promotion and inhibition of branching In poinsettia in grafts between self-branching and non-branching cultivars. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 108: 419–422.

    Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Fulton, R.W. and Fulton, J.L. 1980. Characterization of atymo-like virus common in poinsettia. Phytopathology 70: 321–324.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. 9

    Koenig, R. and Lesemann, D.E. 1980. Two isometric viruses in poinsettia. Plant Disease 64: 782–784.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Koenig, R., Lesemann, D.E. and Fulton, R.W. 1986. Poinsettia mosaic virus. AAB Descriptions of Plant Viruses, No. 311.

  11. 11

    Preil, W. and Engelhart, M. 1982. In vitro separation of chimeras by suspension cultures of Euphorbia pukhanima Willd. Gartenbauwissenschaft 47: 241–244.

    Google Scholar 

  12. 12

    Dole, J.M. and Wilkins, H.F. 1992. In vitro characterization of a graft-transmissible free-branching agent in poinsettia. J. Amer. Soc. Hort Sci. 117: 972–975.

    Google Scholar 

  13. 13

    McCoy, R.E., Caudwell, A., Chang, C.J., Chen, T.A., Golino, D.A., Hackett, K.J., Kirkpatrick, B.C., Marwitz, R., Petzold, H., Shinha, R.H., Sugiura, M., Whitcomb, R.F., Yang, I.L., Zhu, B.M. and Seemüller, E. 1989. Plant diseases associated with mycoplasmalike organisms. The Mycoplasmas 5: 545–560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    Lee, I.-M. and Davis, R.E. 1992. Mycoplasmas which Infect plants and insects, pp. 379–390 in Mycoplasmas: Molecular Biology and Pathogenesis. Maniloff, J., McElhansey, R.N., Finch, L.R., and Baseman, J.B. (eds.). American Society for Microbiology, Washington, D.C.

    Google Scholar 

  15. 15

    Lee, I.-M., Tiffany, M., Gundersen, D.E., and Klopmeyer, M. 1995. Phytoplasma infection: A beneficial factor for production of commercial branching poinsettia cultivars? Phytopathology 85: 1179.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. 16

    Lee, I.-M., Hammond, R.W., Davis, R.E., and Gundersen, D.E. 1993. Universal amplification and analysis of pathogen 16S rDNA for classification and identification of mycoplasmalike organisms. Phytopathology 83: 834–842.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Gundersen, D.E. and Lee, I.-M. 1996. Ultrasensitive detection of phytoplasmas by nested-PCR assays using two universal primer pairs. Phytopathologia mediterranea 35: 144–151.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  18. 18

    Griffiths, H.M., Gundersen, D.E., Sinclair, W.A., Lee, I.-M., and Davis, R.E. 1994. Mycoplasmalike organisms from milkweed, goldenrod, and spirea represent two new 16S rRNA subgroups and three new strain subclusters related to X-disease. Can. J. Plant Pathol. 16: 255–260.

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Lee, I.-M., Bertaccini, A., Vibio, M., and Gundersen, D.E. 1995. Detection of multiple phytoplasmas in perennial fruit trees with decline symptoms in Italy. Phytopathology 85: 728–735.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. 20

    Lee, I.-M., Davis, R.E., Sinclair, W.A., DeWitt, N.D., and Conti, M. 1993. Genetic relatedness of mycoplasmalike organisms detected in Ulmus spp. in the United States and Italy by means of DNA probes and polymerase chain reactions. Phytopathology 83: 829–833.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  21. 21

    Preil, W., Florak, R., Wix, U., and Back, A. 1988. Towards mass propagation by use of bioreactors. Acta Horticulture 226: 99–107.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. 22

    Murashige, T. and Skoog, F. 1962. A revised medium for rapid growth and bioassays with tobacco tissue cultures. Physiol. Plant. 15: 473–497.

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Lee, IM., Klopmeyer, M., Bartoszyk, I. et al. Phytoplasma induced free-branching in commercial poinsettia cultivars. Nat Biotechnol 15, 178–182 (1997). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0297-178

Download citation

Further reading

Search

Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing