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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: CONSERVATION, CHARACTERIZATION, AND GENETIC IMPROVEMENT OF SUBTROPICAL AND TROPICAL ORNAMENTAL GERMPLASM

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Tilting at windmills: 20 years of Hippeastrum breeding

Author
item Meerow, Alan

Submitted to: Israel Journal of Plants Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 2, 2009
Publication Date: May 11, 2010
Citation: Meerow, A.W. 2010. Tilting at windmills: 20 years of Hippeastrum breeding. Israel Journal of Plants Sciences. 57:303-31.

Interpretive Summary: Hippeastrum, the amaryllis, has yielded popular large-flowered hybrids over a 200-year breeding history, with the Netherlands and South Africa currently dominating the market. The USDA breeding program is now almost ten years old, built upon a ten-year previous history at the University of Florida that yielded three patented triploid varieties. This program has focused heavily on two species, H. papilio and H. brasilianum, and over 1000 selections have been stockpiled. Attempts to develop a domestic commercial producer have been stymied by economic conditions, and a steady program of patented release is planned. Future directions of the breeding involve doubling the chromosomes of certain selections, and genomic explorations of the genes involved in floral fragrance and color expression.

Technical Abstract: Hippeastrum Herbert, amaryllis, has yielded popular large-flowered hybrids over a 200-year breeding history, with the Netherlands and South Africa currently dominating the market. The USDA breeding program is now almost ten years old, built upon a ten-year previous history at the University of Florida that yielded three patented triploid varieties. This program has focused heavily on two species, H. papilio and H. brasilianum, and over 1000 selections of diploid, triploid, and tetraploid progeny have been stockpiled. Attempts to develop a domestic commercial producer have been stymied by economic conditions, and a steady program of patented release is planned. Future directions of the breeding involve induction of tetraploidy in diploid selections, and genomic explorations of genes involved in floral fragrance and pigment expression.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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