The objective of this study was to evaluate the ratio of blackness of the surface of stigma of sour cherry cultivars. At the full bloom time of sour cherry 100 new opened flowers were marked in the internal (Inside), external (outside), bottom and upper parts of the crown of each cultivars including sour cherry cultivars ‘Érdi bőtermő', `Debreceni bőtermő', `Kántorjánosi', 'R. clone', 'Petri', Pándy', and 'D. clone'. The trees were replicated four times. The numbers of flowers with black stigma were counted and the percentage of dead stigma was calculated. In addition, tissues of black stigmata were investigated for blossom pathogens by microscopy. After flowering time the fruit set of the marked flowers counted and then percentage fruit set was calculated. Numbers of counted flowers were between 300 and 980 depending on the four position of the tree. Black color of stigma could be seen only on three cultivars (`Debreceni bőtermő', Érdi bőtermő' and 'Petri') out of seven assessed cultivars. The highest numbers of black colored stigma were found on cultivar ‘Érdi bőtermő' which ranged between incidences of 12 and 21%. Black stigma was never able to produce a fruit set. Microscopic examination revealed no pathogens associated with black stigma. Different part of the tree resulted different amount of black stigma. Black stigma was the largest on the outer part of the tree on cv. 'Érdi bőtermő' but also bottom part of the tree also produced larger number of black stigma on cvs. `Debreceni bőtermő' and ‘Érdi bőtermő'. Though symptoms were not typical to frost damage, we believe that black stigma is probably due to environmental factors during flowering. This might be associated with late spring cold coming from the soil surface as the bottom and outer part of the tree was more suffered from the disease.
In this study, the susceptibility of 7 commercially important sour cherry cultivars to Monilinia laxa was studied. Artificial inoculation was made with M. laxa isolates, which were isolated from different woody plants. Artificial inoculation was prepared in the laboratory and in the field. In laboratory, flowers of sour cherries while in the field, the two-year old twigs were inoculated in 2006 and 2007. According to results of stigmata inoculation, there were infection ability differences among the isolates originated from five different stone fruit host. Cultivars could be sorted into two susceptibility groups. In the field, twig inoculation in 2007 was made at blossom period and in 2007 at harvest. Seven sour cherry cultivars were inoculated with 8-day-old mycelial culture of M. laxa originated from sour cherry and almond. The agressivity and pathogenicity of the two isolates were measured by the degree of floem death: Results showed that year and phenological stage considerably influenced the degree of symptoms caused by the fungus. After artificial inoculation, tissue death progression was studied by fluorescent microscope. According to results, sour cherry cultivars were sorted into disease susceptibility groups. Susceptibility orders were identical to results on stigmata inoculation.
The morphology of the stigma has been studied in 50 varieties belonging to 6 stone fruit species. The majority of samples had elliptical stigmata with some exceptions with circular form (Duane, Tuleu gras). The surface of the stigma is papillary, flattened in side view (sweet cherry) or bulging (apricot, peach). The suture of the stigma is clearly visible as a depression and the varieties may differ in this respect.
The size of the stigma depends highly from the season, although the varietal differences are maintained. The dimension of stigmatic surface is characteristic for the species expressed in square millimetres: sweet cherry 0.92 to 2.91; sour cherry 1.64 to 2.48; plum 0.83 to 1.80; oriental plum 0.53 to 1.15; apricot 0.57 to 1.69 mm2.
The size and morphology of the stigma changes according to varieties too, and it may used in description and identification of varieties. No correlation has been found between the size of stigma and the fertility relations (self-fertility or self-incompatibility) of the respective varieties.
The stigmata of detached flowers of susceptible and tolerant apple cultivars were inoculated with about 104 gfp labeled Erwinia amylovora . There were no apparent differences in the colonization, multiplication and survival of the bacteria on the stigmatic surface of the culivars. Bacteria were washed down to the hypanthium surface 24 hours after inoculation. The visual symptoms of the infection were the discoloration and shrinkage of the floral parts. The gradual browning associated with the infection appeared first on the surface of the hypanthium followed by the discoloration of the style. The color of the filaments turned into brown only 120 hours after the inoculation. Bacterial cells were not detected in the tissues of the styles and filaments. The traits of the hypanthium surface are of prominent importance in the progression of the infection. The wrinkled surface, the convex shape of the outer epidermal cell walls with thin cuticle and the sunken stomata helped to preserve a water film for a longer period providing medium for the motility of the bacteria in the susceptible cultivar. Bacteria were restricted to small water droplets on the flat and waxy surface of the hypanthium of the tolerant cultivar and only a few were able to enter the tissues.
Large bacterium aggregations were detected in the intercellular spaces of the parenchyma of the susceptible cultivar 48 hours after the inoculation. In the next period the Erwinia amylovora cells gradually invaded the intercellulars of the hypanthium wall, the wall of the ovary and the pedicel. Low level of bacterium aggregation was found in the intercellulars of the tolerant cultivars. It is suggested that the progression of the infection was inhibited also by physiological factors.
Apricot yields are highly variable according to the season. The variation is caused mainly by the adversities during the critical processes of floral biology, i.e. blooming and fertilisation. On the basis of information concerning blooming time and mutual compatibility relations of apricot varieties a system of securing regular and adequate yields has been developed.
Winter frosts of the continental type are well tolerated by most of the apricots, however, after the end of rest period, flower buds are loosing frost tolerance, 'rapidly.
Being one of the fruit species blooming earliest during the early spring, apricot start to bloom in Hungary around the end of March or early April as a mean of many years, but it also happened, exceptionally that apricot started to bloom at February 20 (at Letenye South Hungary). The early season, exposes the floral organs to frost injuries. As a consequence, apricot orchards on the Great Plain produce low yields in 3 years, intermediate yields in other 3 years out of a ten-year-period.
Moreover, weather conditions during the blooming period are often unfavourable for pollination. Cool, windy and rainy weather prevents the flight of insects and on the other hand, warm spells shorten the blooming process, nectarines and stigmata get dry and the female gametes loose viability before effective pollination occurres.
The fertility of individual cultivars are meeting different obstacles. Apricot cultivars differ greatly in the rate of flowers bearing underdeveloped pistils, which may attain even 60% (e.g. Orangered). New commercial cultivars are often self-incompatible. Local varieties of that type in Hungary are the „óriás" varieties (e.g. Ceglédi óriás, Szegedi mammut), and the new hybrid Ceglédi Piroska. Many of the cultivars are variable in their self-fertility (partially self-fertile): Budapest, Harmat, Korai piros, Mandulakajszi.
Inter-incompatibility is also known in apricots. The „óriás " varieties do not fertilise each other. During the growth of fruits, cool spells (2-4 °C) caused severe fruit shed in Ceglédi óriás.
Apricot flowers produce pollen and nectar at average rates related to other fruit species, thus bees are attracted sufficiently. Bee visits are very variable according to growing site and season. Most of the bees are pollen gatherers but sometimes nectar suckers are in majority. Bee pollination is necessary not only for the self-incompatible varieties but also to enhance the yield of self-fertile varieties.
Taking the blooming and fertility relations of the cultivars into account, plantations should not exceed two rows to a particular self-incompatible varieties, and possibly two different polliniser varieties are suggested to be planted as flanking the block in question.
In commercial plantations 2 to 4 bee colonies per hectare are proposed to move for the whole blooming period.