Strawberry development

Bill Purves purves at TURING.CS.HMC.EDU
Wed Dec 3 13:15:01 EST 1997

As an officially Old Person, I'm old enough to remember some experiments
done almost half a century ago by Jean Pierre Nitsch.  He showed that
the development of the receptacle into a handsome and tasty "strawberry"
required auxin produced by the developing achenes.  His paper includes
some striking photos of bizarre results obtained when only three achenes
were present as well as the appearance of normal strawberries and others
with no achenes at all (but caused to develop to full size by treatment
with IAA).  This was part of his work for the Ph.D. at Caltech.  Later,
Nitsch conceived of, built, and for some years directed the Laboratoire
du Phytotron at Gif-sur-Yvette for the French CNRS.  This was modeled
on and much scaled up from Frits Went's original "phytotron," now long
gone, at Caltech.  Some of Nitsch's peers never gave him the credit
he so richly deserved, figuring that he wasn't a "real" Ph.D., having
gotten his from that diploma mill, Caltech, rather than in France.


William K. Purves               The Mona Group LLC
2817 N. Mountain Avenue        phone: 909.626.4859   
Claremont, CA 91711-1550         fax: 909.626.7030
           e-mail: purves at

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