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Inflorescence architecture of olive

Seifi, Esmaeil, Guerin, Jenny, Kaiser, Brent, Sedgley, Margaret
Scientia horticulturae 2008 v.116 no.3 pp. 273-279
Olea europaea, olives, flowers, inflorescences, plant architecture, phenology, stamens, gynoecium, corolla, cultivars, temporal variation, branches
The influence of flower position on the inflorescence on opening day, gender, and petal persistence was studied in three olive cultivars: Manzanillo, Mission, and Frantoio. In each cultivar, 45 inflorescences were checked every morning from flower opening to petal fall. Perfect flowers opened mainly in the beginning of the flower opening period, and staminate flowers opened later. Flower position on the inflorescence had a highly significant effect on the opening day in all cultivars. Terminal flowers and the flowers located on the primary branches opened earlier than the flowers located on the secondary branches. Flower position had also a highly significant effect on gender in Manzanillo and Mission. In Manzanillo, the secondary branches had fewer perfect flowers than the primary branches. In Mission, the secondary branches had no perfect flowers at all. Among the primary branches, the branch arising immediately next to the terminal flower had the latest flowers to open and the lowest percent of perfect flowers. In Manzanillo, perfect flowers had significantly longer petal persistence than staminate flowers. To study flower competition within the inflorescence, the distal half of 120 inflorescences, on which the flowers tend to be perfect, in three trees of Manzanillo were removed about 1 month before full bloom. There was a highly significant effect on the percent of perfect flowers that opened on the proximal half. Flower competition may be a reason for pistil abortion in flowers located on secondary branches.