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Title: Transfer of the perfect flower trait from Poa secunda to Poa arachnifera

item Kindiger, Bryan

Submitted to: Grassland Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/22/2014
Publication Date: 8/1/2014
Citation: Kindiger, B.K. 2014. Transfer of the perfect flower trait from Poa secunda to Poa arachnifera. Grassland Science. 61:41-411.

Interpretive Summary: Texas bluegrass is a native bluegrass found primarily in Texas, Oklahoma and Southern Kansas. Unlike most bluegrass species that exhibit perfect plants having both male and female reproductive seed setting structures, Texas bluegrass exhibits a separation of sexes; providing plants possessing only male flowers for pollen and female plants for setting seed. This characteristic reduces the potential seed producing capacity of Texas bluegrass by at least 50%. Breeding and selection of Texas bluegrass with one of its perfect flowered bluegrass cousins could allow the transfer of this trait to Texas bluegrass. As a consequence, Texas bluegrass was hybridized with Rock Mountain bluegrass, which exhibits perfect flowers. Selection from this hybridization resulted in the recovery of Texas bluegrass plants that exhibit fertile, seed bearing, perfect flower morphology. The availability of a perfect flowered Texas bluegrass allows this selection to produce an abundance of seed, making this native-species a potential candidate for forage or turf commercialization. This research and germplasm may be of interest to bluegrass breeders in and outside of the USA.

Technical Abstract: A Texas bluegrass (Poa arachnifera) population has been developed that successfully integrates the perfect flower trait from Poa secunda through interspecific hybridization. The resulting perfect flowered Texas bluegrass population is perennial, rhizomatous and partially apomictic in its form of reproduction. The cobweb-like hairs that are a typical characteristic of Poa arachnifera, but not of Poa secunda, are absent from the population. Inheritance of the perfect flowered trait suggests a relatively simple inheritance, perhaps allelic to the segregation of staminate and pistillate individuals in other dioecious systems. Forage quality attributes suggest this new germplasm will be competitive with commercially available Kentucky bluegrass cultivars. This material may have application as a clean seeded, perfect flowered Texas bluegrass cultivar; or have value in Texas bluegrass breeding programs.