Perpetual Flowering in Strawberry Species

in HortScience

The genetic control of flowering habit in many species of Fragaria has not been well studied. Identification of flowering traits and patterns for these taxa could be used in the quest for perpetual flowering (PF) genes and for the octoploids, broaden the genepool of available PF parents for breeding programs. As such, clones from the Fragaria germplasm collection housed at the USDA-ARS National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Corvallis, OR, were evaluated to describe flowering habits in various taxa and identify PF clones. Flower presence was recorded monthly for 962 clones of 36 taxa from the first of May through October in 2015 and 2016 to determine flowering habit and pairwise comparisons between taxa were examined using Pearson’s Chi-squared test. Taxa with the largest percent of PF accessions were F. vesca subsp. vesca f. semperflorens, F. vesca subsp. vesca f. alba, F. vesca subsp. americana, and F. virginiana subsp. glauca. These taxa had similar flowering habits to each other but were significantly different (α = 0.05) from most other taxa in which the seasonal flowering (SF) trait was predominant. Fifteen clones that demonstrated the PF phenotype in both 2015 and 2016 were identified. Differing genetic controls have been observed for flowering habit in F. ×ananassa and F. vesca. Additional studies are needed to determine genetic control of flowering in other Fragaria taxa.

Contributor Notes

Weijian Cai was supported through a fellowship from the Jiangsu Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Nanjing, China, and National Crop Germplasm Resources Preservation of China #2016NWB007.

We appreciate the support of ARS CRIS # 2027-21000-044-00D for funding the maintenance and evaluation of Fragaria genetic resources. We also appreciate the technical assistance of Jim Oliphant, Nguyen Van Kien, Tran Thi Thu Hoai, and Debra Hawkes for assistance in flower removal for this study. We greatly appreciate the comments from reviewers who improved the article presentation.

Corresponding author. E-mail: Kim.Hummer@ars.usda.gov.

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    Cumulative growing degree day units (A), base 50 °F (10 °C), and the mean daily temperature (B) for the first 6 months of 2015 and 2016 in Corvallis, OR (NOAA, 2017).

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    Heat map depicting the pairwise comparison of flowering habit for 28 Fragaria taxa plotted for 2015 (bottom left) and 2016 (upper right) using Pearson’s Chi-squared test with an ‘N-1’ correction (Campbell, 2007). Experiment-wide error was controlled using the Benjamini–Hochberg method (Benjamini and Hochberg, 1995). The taxa presented in the figure were arranged based on clades as defined by Liston et al. (2014).

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