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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: GENETICS, GENETIC IMPROVEMENT, AND IMPROVED PRODUCTION EFFICIENCY OF NURSERY CROPS

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

Title: Inheritance of pink flower color in Styrax japonicus

Author
item Reed, Sandra

Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 17, 2011
Publication Date: August 1, 2011
Citation: Reed, S.M. 2011. Inheritance of pink flower color in Styrax japonicus. Southern Nursery Association Proceedings. 56:12-15.

Interpretive Summary: Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell) is a small deciduous tree that is cultivated as an ornamental. While most S. japonicus cultivars produce white flowers, a few pink-flowered forms have been reported. ‘Pink Chimes’ is the most widely grown pink-flowered form and the only S. japonicus cultivar with deep pink flowers that hold their color even under hot growing conditions. Combining pink flower color and other ornamental traits, such as weeping plant form, in S. japonicus could result in superior cultivars for the market. Because efforts to transfer pink flower color from ‘Pink Chimes’ via controlled pollinations have not been successful, it has been speculated that the deep pink flower color of this cultivar is chimeral in nature. By producing and examining ‘Pink Chimes’ selfed progeny, this study demonstrated that the deep pink color of ‘Pink Chimes’ flowers is heritable and that a breeding effort to combine flower color with other desirable traits is feasible.

Technical Abstract: Most Styrax japonicus (Japanese snowbell) cultivars produce white flowers, but a few pink-flowered forms have been reported. ‘Pink Chimes’ is the most widely grown pink-flowered form and the only S. japonicus cultivar with deep pink flowers that hold their color even under hot growing conditions. Because of the rarity of deep pink flower color in S. japonicus and the lack of success of transferring this trait to progeny from ‘Pink Chimes’, it has been speculated that deep pink flower color in ‘Pink Chimes’ is due to a chimera. The objective of this study was to determine if the deep pink flower color of ‘Pink Chimes’ is heritable or chimeral in nature. F1 seedlings were produced by crossing white-flowered selections to ‘Pink Chimes’. Full-sib F2 progeny were produced from pink-flowered F1 plants. In addition, ‘Pink Chimes’ was self-pollinated. Flower color among F1 plants ranged from white to pale pink. Flower color among the full-sib F2s ranged from white to medium pink, with the majority of plants (68%) having white flowers. Distribution of flower color was considerably different among full-sib and selfed F2 populations. Flower color among ‘Pink Chimes’ self-progeny ranged from white to deep pink with almost half of the plants having flowers rated as medium pink or darker. Five ‘Pink Chimes’ selfed plants had flowers comparable in color intensity to those of ‘Pink Chimes’. The production of self-progeny with flowers similar in color intensity to those of ‘Pink Chimes’ indicates that the deep pink flower color of this cultivar is heritable and that a breeding effort to combine flower color with other desirable traits is feasible.

Last Modified: 8/22/2014
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