The role of ascorbic acid in the control of flowering time and the onset of senescence

J Exp Bot. 2006;57(8):1657-65. doi: 10.1093/jxb/erj198. Epub 2006 May 12.


Ascorbic acid (AA) is not only an important antioxidant, it also appears to link flowering time, developmental senescence, programmed cell death, and responses to pathogens through a complex signal transduction network. The biological activity of AA is defined by its oxidation and subsequent regeneration into the reduced form. Some studies suggest that the total endogenous level of AA influences induction of flowering and senescence. Both processes require the co-ordinated regulation of gene expression, which is mediated by various phytohormones. For example, gibberellins and salicylic acid are known to promote flowering, but inhibit or retard senescence in Arabidopsis. Ethylene and abscisic acid accelerate senescence. Ascorbic acid serves as an important co-factor for the synthesis of some of these hormones. Therefore, it is assumed that AA affects phytohormone-mediated signalling processes during the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive phase and the final stage of development, senescence. This review summarizes recent reports that investigate the effect of AA on flowering time and the onset of senescence. An attempt was made to bring these findings in context with previously characterized flowering and senescence pathways and a model is proposed that may explain how AA influences flowering and senescence both under long- and short-day conditions in Arabidopsis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Antioxidants / physiology
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Ascorbic Acid / physiology*
  • Flowers / physiology*
  • Photoperiod
  • Plant Growth Regulators / physiology*
  • Time Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Growth Regulators
  • Ascorbic Acid