Cauliflower Question

Steve Hinkson sphinkson at
Thu Jul 8 19:28:30 EST 1999

 Cauliflower is not "fleshy apical meristem tissue". Meristem is, by definition,
undifferentiated cells.  First, if it were meristem, all cauliflower would look
completely different (as does the undifferentiated cells grown  for
mericloning).  Second, it would as likely differentiate into new stems and
leaves as flowers.  It doesn't.
This is the sort of academia that has discouraged me in the past.  When you
don't cut and eat cauliflower, it blooms.  Actually sorta' pretty for a cole
crop.  So why should the bud clusters we eat be called mal-formed?  They're just
Hypertrophied flowers?  Cauliflower is flower buds, and the supporting stem
tissue.  Some of my Orchids have been bred for hypertrophied flowers,  and
cauliflower and broccoli have been bred for larger flower clusters, so the
preceding bud cluster will be larger too.  I'll buy, as a definition,
"selectively bred hypertrophied flower buds".

Julia Frugoli wrote:

> >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
> that
> 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
> tissue.
> 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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