Gibberellins and flowering of grasses and cereals: prizing open the lid of the "florigen" black box

Annu Rev Plant Biol. 2003;54:307-28. doi: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.54.031902.135029.


Comprehensive studies in grasses show that gibberellins (GAs) play a role as a florigen. For Lolium temulentum, which flowers in response to a single long day (LD), GAs are a transmitted signal, their content increasing in the leaf early in the LD and then, hours later, at the shoot apex. There is a continuous trail of evidence of hormonal action of these GAs for L. temulentum and support for a similar role in the flowering of other LD-responsive temperate grasses and cereals. A characteristic of the initial flowering responses of grasses and cereals is their limited stem elongation. Interestingly, it is GAs with low effectiveness for stem elongation, GA5 and GA6, that reach the shoot apex and, structurally, are probably not degraded by 2-oxidase enzymes. By contrast, GA1 and GA4 cause stem elongation, may be inactive for floral evocation, and do not reach the vegetative shoot apex apparently because of susceptibility to degradation. However, GA4 can be florally active if protected against 2-oxidases either structurally or by using a 2-oxidase inhibitor. Later in inflorescence development, GA1 and GA4 can be detected at the shoot apex and are florally active if applied. The 2-oxidase restricting accessibility to the apex has probably declined at this time so there is a second florigenic, LD-regulated GA action. A growing body of molecular evidence supporting these actions of GA may provide a future basis for manipulating flowering of grasses and cereals.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biological Evolution
  • Edible Grain / growth & development
  • Edible Grain / physiology*
  • Flowers / physiology*
  • Gibberellins / metabolism*
  • Light
  • Poaceae / growth & development
  • Poaceae / physiology*


  • Gibberellins