Submitted to: Herbarist
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/14/1997
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: This paper reports the results of preliminary experiments to study the genetic control of essential oil composition in anise hyssop, Agastache foeniculum, and to determine if genes controlling enzyme banding patterns are linked to those controlling essential oils. Anise hyssop, a perennial, aromatic plant native to the northern Great Plains, is cultivated for its essential oils and as bee forage. It is also grown in gardens for its summer floral display. We detected six major components from gas chromatograms of headspace samples of the leaves of five parental populations of anise hyssop and their F1 hybrids. These components were alpha-pinene, myrcene, limonene, methylchavicol, spathulenol, and an unknown compound with a very short retention time. The following hypotheses for the genetic control of the six components were proposed. 1. Alpha-pinene may be controlled by a single dominant gene requiring a gene product from a second locus responsible for myrcene synthesis. 2. Myrcene synthesis may be controlled by a dominant gene at one locus and the quantity produced controlled by a second locus. 3. Limonene may be controlled by two loci with additive effects. 4. Methylchavicol may be controlled by a single dominant gene. 5. Spathulenol may be controlled by two complementary loci with dominant gene action. 6. The unknown compound may also be controlled by two complementary loci with dominant gene action. No particular isozyme banding patterns could be shown to correlate with essential oil composition. Analyses of gas-chromatographic data collected in 1996 from F2, F1 and parental populations in order to test these hypotheses are ongoing.