G.M. Littlejohn, L.M. Blomerus
Of the 55 Ornithoqalum species found in Southern Africa, four species complexes are used in the breeding program at VOPRI. The white/cream coloured O. thyrsoides and O. conicum have an established market. A range of tinted cultivars, using the yellow and orange/red ecotypes of the O. dubium and O. maculatum species complexes in crosses, are being aimed for. Virus infection currently poses a large threat to the commercial production of Ornithogalum, severely reducing bloom quality and plant productivity. The desirable floristic traits to be combined in cultivars must thus be combined with resistance to Ornithogalum mosaic virus. To achieve this goal a thorough knowledge of the cytogenetics of intra- and interspecific hybrids is required. A modified Elisa technique will enable the screening of species and ecotypes for virus resistance. Resistance due to incorporation of the virus coat protein DNA in the plant genome is also being studied.
Littlejohn, G.M. and Blomerus, L.M. (1992). BREEDING WITH INDIGENOUS SOUTH AFRICAN ORNITHOGALUM SPECIES. Acta Hortic. 325, 549-554
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1992.325.76
hybridization, Ornithogalum mosaic virus, colour variation

Acta Horticulturae