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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

2010 Annual Report

1a. Objectives (from AD-416)
The primary objectives of this project are 1) conserving of tropical/subtropical ornamental crop genetic resourses and associated information important for the evaluation and utilization of that material; 2) the development and application of new or improved horticultural evaluation procedures and genetic marker-based approaches for genetic diversity assessment of the preceding genetic resourses; 3) genetic improvement efforts directed to developing new, superior tropical/subtropical ornamental germplasm; and 4) the transfer of technologiy in the form of tropical/subtropical ormamental crop genetic resourses, associated information, and new, superior tropical/subtropical ornamental germplasm to researchers and breeders worldwide.

1b. Approach (from AD-416)
Collect new accessions of subtropical/tropical ornamental plants that have commerical potential in the U.S. Evaluate newly collected accessions and existing material, primarily flowering trees and shrubs already on site, using phenotypic characters and molecular makers. Organize the information such that it can be used as descriptors for inclusion in the GRIN system. Utilize the molecular and phenotypical analysis to breed improved germplasm in support of the ornamental industry. Communicate and coordinate subtropical/tropical ornamental horticultural research with local and regional industry, universites, and foreign germplasm effort in Florida, Puerto Rico, and Hawaii.

3. Progress Report
Two dozen additional accessions of tropical conifers have been received through germplasm exchange with the Montgomery Botanical Center, Atlanta Botanical Garden, and Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Seventeen new accessions of Tabebuia species from South America and the Caribbean were received as seed, which has germinated well. Tabebuia is one of the priority tropical tree genera identified by the Woody Landscape Plant Crop Germplasm Committee for collections development. Several Portlandia coccinea x grandiflora hybrid clones have been selected as superior and will be propagated for replicated trial and evaluation. The first round of genotyping of Jamaican and Dominican Republic Zamia populations with 20 microsatellite DNA markers has been completed. Leaf samples for microsatellite analysis and seed for germplasm collections of Zamia from four islands of the Bahamas (Andros, Eleuthera, Long island, and New Providence) were collected. Analysis of the WRKY gene alignments across the palm subtribe Attaleinae has been published, and we are now sequencing these loci across the rest of the tribe Cocoseae. A release publication of the new ornamental subshrub Turnera diffusa 'Luisa' is being prepared. Eighteen amaryllis (Hippeastrum) hybrid clones are being intensively evaluated for possible patent and release. We are sub-culturing several diploid Hippeastrum clones to increase numbers sufficiently to attempt chromosome doubling. We have developed primers for six single copy nuclear genes that successfully amplify Zamia DNA. A visiting EMBRAPA scientist spent a year in our lab through the LABEX program working on the phylogenetics of Brazilian Alstroemeria species; we are joining our data with colleagues in Europe in a study of the entire family Alstroemeriaceae.

4. Accomplishments

5. Significant Activities that Support Special Target Populations
A number of student projects have been completed by Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) student internship program opportunities.

Review Publications
Calonje, M., Meerow, A.W., Stevenson, D.W. 2010. The typification of Zamia erosa and the priority of that name over Z. amblyphyllidia. Taxon. 59(2) April 2010:637-642.

Meerow, A.W., Borrone, J.W., Couvreur, T.L., Mauro-Herrera, M., Hahn, W.J., Kuhn, D.N., Nakamura, K., Schnell Ii, R.J. 2009. Phylogenetic analysis of seven WRKY genes across the palm subtribe Attaleinae (Areceaceae) identifies Syagrus as sister to the coconut. PLoS One. DOI

Snijman, D.A., Meerow, A.W. 2010. Floral and macroecological evolution within Cyrtanthus (Amaryllidaceae) inferences from combined analyses of plastid ndhF and nrDNA ITS sequences. South African Journal of Botany. 76:217-238.

Meerow, A.W. 2010. Tilting at windmills: 20 years of Hippeastrum breeding. Israel Journal of Plants Sciences. 57:303-31.

Flagg, R.O., Smith, G.L., Meerow, A.W. 2010. New combinations in Habranthus (Amaryllidaceae) in Mexico and Southwestern U.S.A. Novon. 20:33-34

Last Modified: 10/17/2017
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