Diurnal variation in thigmotropic inhibition of stem elongation

Tami Van Gaal, John E Erwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Wind, touching, and/or mechanical stress can restrict stem elongation. Removal of the registration of the growth retardant daminozide for use on edible crops increased interest in thigmotropic inhibition of stem elongation to control plant height in greenhouse crops, as well as a general desire by growers to decrease chemical inputs for floriculture crops. Since stem elongation varies diurnally, the question arises as to whether wind inhibition of stem elongation varies over a 24-hour period. Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum) 'MoneyMaker' and cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus) 'Imperial Pink' seedlings were placed under each of 10 wind perturbation treatments [applied for different durations and at different times during a 24-hour period; wind speed (perpendicular to the media) at seedling level was 30 km·h-1 (18.6 mph)] for 30 days. Data were collected on plant height and leaf number on days 1 and 30. The effect of wind on stem elongation differed with species; wind treatments restricted stem elongation more on cosmos than tomato (53% and 20%, respectively, across treatments). Tomato elongation was most restricted when seedlings received wind all day, all night, or all day and night. Within short-term treatments, internode length was least when tomato seedlings received a mid-day wind treatment. Cosmos elongation was most restricted when seedlings received a wind treatment all day or all night. Within short-term treatments, cosmos internode elongation was most restricted with early- and mid-day wind treatments. Data here suggest wind effects on elongation vary diurnally. In addition, the magnitude of wind effects on elongation varied with species and was greatest during the beginning of the day on cosmos, which mirrors when stem elongation is most sensitive to temperature fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-294
Number of pages4
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2005


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Cosmos
  • Thigmotropism
  • Tomato
  • Wind


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