Submitted to: Southern Nursery Association Research Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2008
Publication Date: 11/1/2008
Citation: Rinehart, T.A., Reed, S.M. 2008. Relationships between hydrangea indochinensis, H. macrophylla, H. scandens, and Dichroa febrifuga based on SSR markers. Southern Nursery Association Research Conference. 53:195-197. Interpretive Summary: Hydrangea macrophylla, or big leaf hydrangea, is the most popular hydrangea due to showy inflorescence with a long blooming season, broad green foliage, and moderate cold hardiness. Many closely related species have desirable characteristics that could be incorporated into a hydrangea breeding program. For example, some H. scandens species are known to produce flowers earlier than H. macrophylla and are less susceptible to powdery mildew. Species of H. scandens also exhibit burgundy foliage on purplish stems in full sun situations. Hydrangea scandens subsp. chinensis has white sterile flowers and yellow fertile flowers giving the flower head an over-all yellow appearance. Dichroa febrifuga is an evergreen shrub producing persistent, fleshy, iridescent-blue berries. Blue inflorescences begin to appear in spring, even in the absence of available aluminum in the soil, and continues through the summer. H. indochinensis is a small to medium evergreen shrub with ornamental value, particularly the dark purple color on the abaxial, or underside, of the leaves.
Technical Abstract: Numerous Hydrangea macrophylla cultivars exist that demonstrate a wide array of desirable ornamental traits but breeders continue to search for new genetic diversity. Interspecific hybrids between Hydrangea species closely related to H. macrophylla, such as H. scandens, are a potential source of new traits. Recent evidence suggests that Dichroa febrifuga is also closely related to H. macrophylla and freely interbreeds. Here we report on the potential for breeding between H. macrophylla and H. indochinensis.