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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Nat'l Clonal Germplasm Rep - Tree Fruit & Nut Crops & Grapes

Title: Factors associated with the mother bulb of star-of-bethlehem that influence daughter bulb production

item Johanning, Nathan
item Matthews, Joseph
item Preece, John
item Young, Bryan

Submitted to: North Central Weed Science Society US Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2010
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Star-of-Bethlehem is a problematic, early-season perennial weed in agricultural fields and pastures that originated as an escaped ornamental. Since weed management practices have not specifically targeted star-of-Bethlehem, this species has flourished in infested fields -under both no-till and tilled environments. The use of all spring tillage may not always provide effective control as the bulbs appear to be spread further through the use of tillage. Effective control options, including herbicides, have been limited, and further information is needed to determine the factors affecting the growth and reproduction of star-of Bethlehem plants which could influence future management recommendations. Research was conducted to determine the influence of chilling (cold temperature requirements) and bulb chipping (tillage injury) on emergence timing and daughter bulbet production and evaluate the role viable pollination and seed production in the propagation of plants. Two biotypes of star-of-Bethlehem (Marion, IL and Murphysboro, IL) with differences in plant vigor and growth were collected in southern Illinois and evaluated. The accumulation of chilling units was not required for leaf emergence from the bulbs of either biotype. The duration of chilling had a variable effect on daughter bulblet production depending on the biotype with a greater maximum daughter bulblet yield for the Murphysboro biotype(14 bulblets/plant) compared with the Marion biotype (4 bulblets/plant). Chipping the bulb into four longitudinal sections increased the time for leaf emergence and increased the production of small daughter bulblets. No evidence of viable seed production by either star-of-Bethlehem biotye was observed. Variable winter conditions leading to differing lengths of chilling apparently have little influence on star-of-Bethlehem leaf emergence under field conditions. Soil disruption such as tillage which can chip and disperse bulbs did not result in any major detriment for the star-of-Bethlehem biotypes and may actually promote additional daughter bulblet production. While tillage may be a component of star-of-Bethlehem management, foliar applied herbicides should be the primary focus for achieving the most consistent control.

Last Modified: 10/19/2017
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