Alstroemeria, also known as Lily-of-the-Incas, Inca Lily, or Peruvian Lily, has been bred at the Univ. of Connecticut since 1985. In vitro procedures have been integrated with traditional breeding techniques to create new and exciting cultivars. Embryo culture has been used to generate interspecific, intraspecific, and intergeneric hybrids that would not have been possible with traditional breeding. Somaclonal variation has been used to create new plants from spontaneous and induced mutations, but, in most cases, the plants have not been acceptable commercially. Chromosome doubling with colchicine has been used for fertility restoration of sterile diploids. Somatic embryogenesis has also been studied quite extensively; somatic embryos are easily obtained from zygotic embryos of Alstroemeria. In vitro fertilization procedures are currently being studied in order to hasten embryo development after hybridization has occurred. Because Alstroemeria plants are slow to propagate by traditional rhizome division, micropropagation is used to multiply new cultivars rapidly. Because the production of pathogen-free plants is one of the goals of our breeding and new plant introduction programs, meristem culture and thermotherapy are also being studied. All of these techniques will be described during the workshop.
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