Caladiums (Caladium×hortulanum) are ornamental aroids often forced in containers or grown in the landscape for their colorful leaves. The aesthetic value of caladium plants is largely determined by their leaf characteristics. Caladium breeding can be traced back to the mid-1800s when Gregor Mendel conducted his plant hybridization experiments, but information on the inheritance of caladium traits has been rather scant. To understand the mode of inheritance for three typical leaf shapes and three main vein colors in caladium, controlled crosses were made among commercial cultivars and breeding lines, and segregation of leaf shape and/or main vein color in the progeny was analyzed. The observed segregation ratios indicated that a single locus with three alleles seemed to determine the main vein color in caladium. The white vein allele was dominant over the green vein allele, but recessive to the red vein allele, which was dominant over both white and green vein alleles. The three leaf shapes (fancy, lance, and strap) in caladium seemed to be controlled by two co-dominant alleles at one locus. Leaf shape segregation was skewed in some crosses, which might imply the existence of other factors involved in caladium leaf shape development. Chi-square tests revealed that leaf shape and main vein color were inherited independently in caladium.
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