Cauliflower Question

Julia Frugoli jfrugoli at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Fri Jul 9 09:30:30 EST 1999

>At 12:07 AM -0400 7/9/99, David Hershey wrote:
>>There does seem to be some controversy about whether cauliflower is
>>really  floral tissue. The Plant Science text by Hartmann et al. says it
>>is "prefloral fleshy apical meristem tissue."
>>A college Horticulture text says the edible part is "malformed or
>>hypertrophied flowers" and "Hortus Third" calls it the "condensed and
>>thickened malformed flower cluster."
>>David Hershey
>>dh321 at

My understanding from the genetic work done in Arabidopsis and brassica is
cauliflower has been shown to be brassica with mutations in the the genes
corresponding to the CAL or AGL9 gene and the AP1 gene in Arbidopsis.  The
gene is a floral homeotic gene encoding a MADS domain protein homologous to
AP1. It enhances the flower to shoot transformation in ap1 mutants, but has
no visible phenotype when alone. Ap1 cal1 double mutants have inflorescences
similar to cauliflower, resulting in a proliferation of apical meristem,
making Arabidopsis look like cauliflower.  So I think the short answer is
the part of the cauliflower we eat isn't really a flower, just meristematic

Julia Frugoli
Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology
Texas A&M University
Southern Crop Improvement Facility MS#2123
College Station, TX 77843
phone 409-862-3495
FAX 409-862-4790

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