In a wide range of species, floral pigmentation is due to the accumulation of anthocyanin pigments in the vacuoles of the flower epidermis. In most cases the accumulating anthocyanins are found evenly distributed throughout the vacuolar solution. However in a number of plants there have been reports of aggregations of anthocyanins within the vacuole. These aggregations have been variously described as "blue spherules" in epidermal cells of rose petal, "intravacuolar spherical bodies" in Polygonum cuspidatum seedlings, "ball-like structures" and "crystals" in stock Matthiola incana, petals, "blue crystals" in Larkspur, Consolida ambigua, and red "crystals" in mung bean hypocotyls. We have recently identified and begun characterisation of similar entities in Eustoma grandiflorum (lisianthus) and Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation). We have termed these structures Anthocyanic Vacuolar Inclusions or AVIs. They are non-membrane bound aggregations of highly pigmented material found in the vacuoles of the petal epidermis. The presence of these structures results in intensification in colour and a significant shift in the absorbance spectra of anthocyanins in these cells. We have isolated the AVIs from the inner region of lisianthus petals and have identified that they consist of a protein:anthocyanin complex to which only a subset of the anthocyanins and flavonoids produced in these tissues is bound. The ongoing characterisation of this complex and the potential implications of these interactions on flavonoid sequestration in plant tissues will be discussed.

Key words: Anthocyanic Vacuolar Inclusions, Eustoma grandiflorium, protein, trap