The grapevine inflorescence is a determinate panicle and as buds emerge, shoot, flower and rachis development occur simultaneously. The growth and architecture of the rachis is determined by genetic and environmental factors but here we examined the role of flower and leaf number as well as hormones on its elongation and vascular development. The consequences of rachis morphology and vascular area on berry size and composition were also assessed. One week prior to anthesis, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon field vines were exposed to manual flower removal, exogenous plant growth regulators or pre-bloom leaf removal. Manual removal of half the flowers along the vertical axis of the inflorescence resulted in a shorter rachis in both cultivars. Conversely, inflorescences treated with gibberellic acid (GA3) and the synthetic cytokinin, 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP) resulted in a longer rachis while pre-bloom removal of all leaves on the inflorescence-bearing shoot did not alter rachis length relative to untreated inflorescences. Across the treatments, the cross-sectional areas of the conducting xylem and phloem in the rachis were positively correlated to rachis girth, flower number at anthesis, bunch berry number, bunch berry fresh mass and bunch sugar content at harvest. Conversely, average berry size and sugar content were not linked to rachis vascular area. These data indicate that the morphological and vascular development of the rachis was more responsive to flower number and plant growth regulators than to leaf removal.
Gourieroux, A. M., Holzapfel, B. P., McCully, M. E., Scollary, G. R., & Rogiers, S. Y. (2017). Vascular development of the grapevine (Vitis vinifera L.) inflorescence rachis in response to flower number, plant growth regulators and defoliation. Journal of Plant Research, 130(5), 873-883. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-017-0944-2