456 PB 329 REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY OF VIGNA CARACALLA (=PHASEOLUS CARACALLA)

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  • 1 Department of Horticultural Science, University of Minnesota, St. Paul, MN 55108

The snail flower, V. caracalla, was a popular ornamental flowering plant in conservatories at the turn of the century. It's popularity was due, in part, to its showy, orchid-like flowers whose fragrance rivals Stephanotis The indeterminate, vining growth habit can produce plants > 20 feet in height. V. caracalla is of interest for genetic and evolution studies since it is an ancestral species and possesses diagnostic traits of both Phaseolus (coiled style, leaf length/width ratios) and Vigna (> 10 seeds/ovary, long seed pods). However, its reproductive biology and use as an intergeneric hybrid bridge is unknown. Plants were examined for male and female fertility, self compatibility, and cross compatibility. Genotypes were self-incompatible; with one exception, self seed set did not occur following artificial manipulation. Selfed flowers abscised within 1-2 days post-pollination. Accessions were cross-compatible and highly fertile. To date, intergeneric hybridizations performed with P. coccineus --theancestral Phaseolus --have aborted following fertilization.

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