Original research articles

Internodal elongation in the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) : leaf influences and role of the shoot apex


The respective influences of the leaves and shoot apex on stimulation of internodal elongation were studied in the grapevine. Various defoliation or decapitation treatments were applied to the shoot of rooted hardwood cuttings grown in a controlled environment chamber.

Concerning the foliar influences, the role of three sorts of leaves, in relation to their nodal position relative to the internode was analysed ; its own leaves, the leaves located below it and the young leaves neoformed above. The effects produced by excision of these different leaves show that the two adjacent leaves (below and above) of the internode play an essential role in the stimulation of its elongation. Among the subjacent leaves, these only at a position at least 6 nodes below promote internode growth. On the other hand, the young leaves neoformed in the upper part of the shoot have not influence.

The results of decapitation experiments indicate that terminal bud contributes also to the stimulation of internodal elongation. However this influence appears only if an increment to the size (« compensatory growth ») of the leaves below the level of decapitation is not induced by the removal of the shoot tip. The leaves which realize this « compensatory growth » have indeed the ability to compensate for the laking apical bud stimulus.

The influences vary with the stage of internode length. The longitudinal growth of very young internode (5 - 10 mm long) is stimulated by its own leaves, the terminal bud and leaves situated at least 6 nodes below. When the internode has reached at least 50 p. cent of its adult size, its elongation depends only on its own leaves and the apex. At the end of grown, only its own leaves stimulate lengthening.

Exogenous applications of IAA, NAA and gibberellic acid (GA3) at different concentrations were also tested. GA3 at 100 mg.l-1 and 1 g.l-1 (incorporated to lanolin paste) applied to the cut surface of the petiole of the two adjacent leaves of young internode permits a normal elongation providing that apical bud is maintained. If the shoot is decapited the same treatment has almost the same effect only by supplying NAA at 1 g.l-1 to the shoot section.

The functions of the three elements contributing to internodal elongation are discussed, taking in consideration both the experimental results of exogenous applications of IAA, NAA and GA3, and the possible trophic role of the leaves. It is proposed that the two adjacent leaves of the internode stimulate its longitudinal growth through a production of diffusible gibberellic substances and also, probably of nutrient elements. The role of subjacent leaves is certainly of trophic nature. Terminal bud being an auxin source, we can expect that its stimulating influence is due to the supply of this growth regulator.


Jean-Claude Fournioux


Affiliation : Institut Jules Guyot - Université de Bourgogne, B.P. 27877, 21078 Dijon cedex (France)


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