Interspecific and Intergeneric Hybridization in Baptisia and Thermopsis

in HortScience

Interspecific and intergeneric crosses were performed between species in the genera Baptisia and Thermopsis with the goal of creating hybrids with the best qualities of both parents. Baptisia australis (L.) R. Br. was used as both the male and female parent in intergeneric crosses. Thermopsis chinensis Benth. ex S. Moore, T. lupinoides (L.) Link, and T. villosa Fernald & B.G. Schub. were used as male and female parents in both interspecific and intergeneric crosses. Pollen was collected from B. alba (L.) Vent., B. bracteata Muhl. ex Elliott, and B. lanceolata (Walt.) Ell. and used to make interspecific and intergeneric crosses. Putative hybrids were obtained from both interspecific and intergeneric crosses. Interspecific crosses produced a higher percentage of pollinations resulting in seed set and the number of seeds per pollination than intergeneric crosses. Morphological differences between parent species and progeny were evident in putative hybrids resulting from intergeneric crosses between T. villosa and B. australis and T. villosa and B. alba. Most putative hybrids bloomed during the second year after germination. Because seedlings could be obtained from both interspecific and intergeneric crosses, hybrids within and between the genera Baptisia and Thermopsis are feasible. The Fabaceae family contains 670–750 genera and 18,000–19,000 species. Baptisia (commonly called false or wild indigo) and Thermopsis (commonly named false lupine) of the Fabaceae belong to the tribe Thermopsidae, which comprises 46 species in six genera. All species in Thermopsis and Baptisia are herbaceous; they are the only two genera in Thermopsidae that do not have woody species. Thermopsis contains 23 species and has a wide-spread distribution with species endemic to Asia and much of temperate North America. Although Thermopsis is considered to have originated in central Asia, T. chinensis Benth. ex S. Moore and T. fabacea (Pallas) Candole are thought to have originated in North America and migrated over the Bering Land Strait to Asia. Three Thermopsis species, T. fraxinifolia Nutt. ex M.A. Curtis, T. mollis (Michx.) M.A. Curtis ex A. Gray, and T. villosa Fernald & B.G. Schub., are native to the southeastern United States. Baptisia contains 15–17 species that are endemic to the southeastern and midwestern United States.

Contributor Notes

We thank Vickie Waters for technical assistance and help with data collection.

This article is part of a thesis submitted by Susan M. Hawkins as part of the fulfillment of a Master’s Degree.

Corresponding author. E-mail: ruter@uga.edu.

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    (A) Seedling of T. villosa x B. australis cross with examples of parent species. Note multibranching habit of hybrid, unlike female parent. Inflorescence morphology of hybrid is also different from female parent, with flowers more widely spaced along inflorescence. (B) T. villosa (NC) was obtained from Northcreek Nurseries. (C) B. australis.

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