(135) Study on the Seed Progeny of Echinacea purpurea Mench.

in HortScience

Common coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) is used as medicinal, cutflower, or ornamental plant. There is significant diversity and chemotypes within the species. Flower morphology and shape has been shown to affect fertilization and, subsequently, seed formation and yields, and seed germination. The aim of this study was to describe morphological and biological characteristics of locally available Echninacea seed progeny and evaluate segregating populations in F1. Overall, the F1 seed progeny of Echinacea purpurea was clustered into three different groups with distinct morphological characteristics and ornamental qualities: 1) plants having tubular type of flowers, 38.9% of all plants; 2) plants with flat flowers; and 3) plants with cone-shaped flowers. The latter is the most commonly found type. We found that 11% of all Echninacea plants would fail to have seed set. However, 55% of Echninacea plants with tubular (spherical) flowers would be without seeds. Of the plants with tubular flowers, 40% were with tubules longer than 10 mm. The plants from the F2 and F3 progenies were with very low seed productivity, with greater variation of morphological characteristics, and some of them with characteristics not found in F1. Several promising forms with potentially high ornamental value were identified.

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