Lisianthus (Eustoma) breeding through interspecific hybridization

R. Barba-Gonzalez, E. Tapia-Campos, T.Y. Lara-Bañuelos, V. Cepeda-Cornejo
The importance of lisianthus (Eustoma grandiflorum) as a cut flower has increased over recent decades. Eustoma is a perennial herbaceous genus of the family Gentianaceae. The genus is represented by three species, whose distribution is restricted from the southern United States to Central America, including the Caribbean islands. E. grandiflorum is a half-hardy perennial that grows up to 60 cm tall, and its flower color ranges from white to purple. However, due to indirect selection, the plantlets have a tendency to rosette (heat-induced resting stage) if they are exposed to temperatures above 25°C. In order to generate heat-tolerant cultivars and reduce the rosette problem, a breeding program was conducted and interspecific crosses between E. grandiflorum and Eustoma exaltatum were performed. In its natural habitat, E. exaltatum grows at temperatures above 35°C during the summer. Hundreds of hybrids have been obtained in various generations: F1, BC1, S1 and S2. Two types of E. exaltatum were collected in nature, a purple one, the most common type, and a white type. F1 hybrids where E. exaltatum f. purple was involved resembled E. exaltatum more than E. grandiflorum. However, when E. exaltatum f. white was utilized as a parent, a wide variation in color was obtained in the progeny. From these F1 hybrids, the BC1, S1 and S2 generations were obtained, and several of these hybrids showed good heat tolerance. In this work, we found that a wide variation in color existed in hybrids through interspecific hybridization, and some of the hybrids were more heat tolerant than their parents.
Barba-Gonzalez, R., Tapia-Campos, E., Lara-Bañuelos, T.Y. and Cepeda-Cornejo, V. (2017). Lisianthus (Eustoma) breeding through interspecific hybridization. Acta Hortic. 1171, 241-244
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2017.1171.31
breeding, heat tolerance, ornamental crop, lisianthus, interspecific hybridization

Acta Horticulturae