Scales of lily bulbs are swollen petioles. Lily scale fragments cultured in vitro regenerate bulblets consisting of scales that may or may not carry a leaf blade. The bulblets are dormant and require a cold treatment to sprout. We added the gaseous plant growth regulator methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA) in the headspace of the tissue-culture container and studied the effect on plantlet morphology (scale/leaf-blade formation) and dormancy development in three lilies, Lilium speciosum "Rubrum No. 10," L. longiflorum "Snow Queen," and the Asiatic hybrid "Connecticut King." Methyl jasmonic acid strongly reduced leaf-blade formation in Lilium longiflorum and Connecticut King. This was a specific effect as scale formation was affected much less. The specific inhibition of leaf-blade formation was not observed in Lilium speciosum. In this lily, high concentrations of methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA) inhibited leaf-blade and scale formation to similar extents. Methyl jasmonic acid reduced dormancy development in all three lilies, with the largest effect observed in Connecticut King. In this Asiatic hybrid, almost all bulblets that had regenerated at 300 or 1000 mu l l(-1) MeJA in the headspace, did not require a dormancy-breaking treatment to achieve sprouting after planting in soil. Previously, it has been found in lily that treatments that reduce leaf-blade formation promote dormancy development. The present findings with MeJA do not agree with this. In the three lilies, the various parameters that were studied-regeneration, scale weight, leaf-blade weight, and dormancy development-were very differently affected by MeJA.
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