BREEDING FOR EVER-RED BARBERRIES (BERBERIS SPP.)

A. CADIC
Berberis (Berberidaceae) is a highly polymorphic genus scattered over America, Asia and Europe. Essentially diploïd (2n=2x=28 chromosomes) it includes deciduous and evergreen species. Permanent red colour of leaves appeared among seedlings of B.vulgaris 1.5 century ago then 50 years later among seedlings of B.thunbergii.

Interspecific hybridizations intended to combine leaf persistency and colour hardly provided 144 F1 hybrids from 16 combinations. Those hybrids are deciduous or almost so and fully or nearly steriles.

F2 progenies coming from open-pollination when selfing is the most common, were get. Selection for leaf colour was made in a glasshouse, but observations for leaf persistency has been made for several years in field conditions.

Genetically speaking, permanent red colour of leaves can be explained by a single recessive gene ; heredity of persistency has not been clearly established, persistency is recessive over deciduous and the occurence of intermediate phenotypes among F2 progenies may result from a polygenic situation. The number of recombinant genotypes with red leaves and a high level of persistency is rather weak (less than 0.5%), five F2 hybrids were selected and are under evaluation.

A second breeding cycle would be requested to increase the diversity of phenotypes and to improve the ornamental value of those quite new plants.

CADIC, A. (1992). BREEDING FOR EVER-RED BARBERRIES (BERBERIS SPP.). Acta Hortic. 320, 85-90
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.320.11
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.320.11

Acta Horticulturae