A virtual plant that responds to the environment like a real one: the case for chrysanthemum

Kang, M.Z.; Heuvelink, E.; Pinto De Carvalho, S.M.; Reffye, P. de


•Plants respond to environmental change through alterations in organ size, number and biomass. However, different phenotypes are rarely integrated in a single model, and the prediction of plant responses to environmental conditions is challenging. The aim of this study was to simulate and predict plant phenotypic plasticity in development and growth using an organ-level functional–structural plant model, GreenLab.•Chrysanthemum plants were grown in climate chambers in 16 different environmental regimes: four different temperatures (15, 18, 21 and 24°C) combined with four different light intensities (40%, 51%, 65% and 100%, where 100% is 340 µmol m-2 s-1). Measurements included plant height, flower number and major organ dry mass (main and side-shoot stems, main and side-shoot leaves and flowers). To describe the basipetal flowering sequence, a position-dependent growth delay function was introduced into the model.•The model was calibrated on eight treatments. It was capable of simulating multiple plant phenotypes (flower number, organ biomass, plant height) with visual output. Furthermore, it predicted well the phenotypes of the other eight treatments (validation) through parameter interpolation.•This model could potentially serve to bridge models of different scales, and to link energy input to crop output in glasshouses.