Whether floral volatiles play a role in reproduction of the dogwood remains unclear.
Objectives of this study were to identify principal volatile chemicals emitted from dogwood flowers and to assess a temporal volatile emission profile and volatile consistency across four cultivars.
Inflorescences with intact bracts and 5 cm flower pedicel were removed from dogwood trees and subjected to headspace volatile collection.
Six principal volatile compounds were detected from the flowers of the cultivar 'World's Fair' with 3-formylpyridine as the most abundant constituent.
Subsequent headspace analyses performed using inflorescences without bracts or floral pedicels alone indicated that 3-formylpyridine, E-beta-ocimene, S-linalool, and ketoisophorone were mainly emitted from inflorescences.
Experiments were also conducted to determine whether volatile emissions differed across time and between different cultivars of flowering dogwood.
When volatile emission was analyzed for 48 h using 12 h light/dark cycles, the emission of several volatile compounds displayed diurnal patterns. Finally, whereas florets in inflorescences of four different dogwood cultivars emitted similar levels of the six principal floral volatile chemicals, 'Cherokee Brave' flowers alone yielded 4-methoxybenzaldehyde and germacrene-D. The implications of the findings of this study to dogwood breeding programs are discussed.