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image of Israel Journal of Plant Sciences

The developmental processes in Crocus sativus L. were studied with the aim of improving cultivation methods. The effects of planting depth on rooting, sprouting, flowering, leaf development, and corn production were investigated. Total rooting and flowering capacities were not affected by planting depth. In the case of shallow planting, contractile roots, whose function is to lower the daughter corms into the ground, formed singly at die base of daughter corms. The sprouting rate was enhanced or reduced by shallow planting in the field, depending on the prevailing climatic conditions. Leaf elongation increased markedly with the planting depth. The number of sprouting buds and hence that of daughter corms decreased with the planting depth. The average size of the daughter corms was inversely related to their number. In the saffron crocus, the fibrous roots are situated at the base of the mother corm. During the growing season, mother corms shrink and their vitality is lost; assimilate translocation through the mother corm continues in the live parenchyma cells of the vascular bundles and probably in the phloem elements. Although mitotic and morphogenic activities continue in the bud apices throughout summer, the extent of dormancy (as expressed by the time interval to 50% sprouting and rooting) decreases gradually and disappears by autumn. Flowering and corm production of the saffron crocus in the first season after planting were compared to those in the second and third seasons in the field. Flowering increased and the corm size critical for flowering decreased in the second and third seasons; corm production increased only in the second season after planting.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Agricultural Botany, The Faculty of Agriculture The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ; 2: Department of Food Science, Agricultural Research Organization


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