Caladiums (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are ornamental aroids grown for their bright, colorful leaves. Their short forcing period, shade tolerance, and low maintenance requirements in the landscape make caladiums popular among pot-plant producers, homeowners, and landscapers (Evans et al., 1992; Harbaugh and Tjia, 1985). The majority of caladiums commercially produced in the world belong to the fancy leaf type, and the most popular color has been white (white center with green veins or white center with white veins). In surveys of Florida caladium growers, who supply more than 95% of the caladium tubers in the world market, white-colored cultivars account for greater than 35% of the caladiums the growers produce (Bell et al., 1998; Deng et al., 2005).
In recent decades, lance-leaved cultivars have gained much more popularity as a result of their inherent characteristics such as shorter stature, better resilience to environmental stresses, and easier forcing in containers. Short lance-leaved cultivars are much easier and less expensive to ship from production facilities to market sites. However, the number of lance-leaved cultivars and the color selection within these cultivars have been rather limited (Bell et al., 1998; Deng et al., 2005) and many of the available lance-leaved cultivars have low tuber yield or production value (Wilfret, 1991a). These factors have made production of tubers for these cultivars difficult and less profitable compared with production of fancy-leaved cultivars and, in turn, resulted in limited supply and increased costs of tubers for greenhouse growers and nurseries interested in lance-leaved caladiums. Developing new lance-leaved cultivars with improved or novel foliar characteristics and good tuber yield has been a major objective in the caladium breeding program of University of Florida's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences since 1976.
‘UF-331’ (Fig. 1) and ‘UF-340’ (Fig. 2) are two new white lance-leaved caladium cultivars with novel combinations of foliar characteristics. Leaves of ‘UF-331’ are characterized by large dark green veins and white interveinal areas, which result in an attractive coloration pattern. Although the white face with green veins is similar to the popular fancy-leaved caladium ‘Candidum Junior’ (and ‘Candidum’), ‘UF-331’ is the first lance-leaved cultivar with this pattern. ‘UF-340’ develops a large number of wide lance leaves with a large, bright, and pure white center surrounded by green margins. It is distinct from other white lance-leaved cultivars such as ‘Florida White Ruffles’ and ‘White Wing’ that have narrow, creamy white leaves. In addition, ‘UF-331’ and ‘UF-340’ have improved performance in container forcing and landscape use compared with other lance-leaved cultivars. Tuber yield of both cultivars was similar to or better than the currently available, commercial white lance-leaved cultivars. Both cultivars produce multibranched tubers that do not require de-eyeing, a time-consuming and costly practice for preparing caladium tubers for container forcing.
Bell, M.L. , Wilfret, G.J. & DeVoll, D.A. 1998 Survey of caladium tuber producers for acreage of cultivars grown Proc. Fla. State Hort. Soc. 111 32 34
Deng, Z. , Harbaugh, B.K. , Schoellhorn, R.K. & Andrew, R.C. 2005 2003 survey of the Florida caladium tuber production industry Univ. of Fla./IFAS extension fact sheet, ENH 1007 16 July 2006 <http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/EP258>.
Evans, M.R. , Wilfret, G.J. & Harbaugh, B.K. 1992 Caladiums as potted and landscape plants Univ. of Fla./IFAS Agr. Ext. Serv. Circ. 1060
Geraldson, C.M. , Overman, A.J. & Jones, J.P. 1965 Combination of high analysis fertilizers, plastic mulch and fumigation for tomato production on old agricultural land. Proc Soil and Crop Sci. Soc. Fla. 25 18 24
Miranda, B.D. & Harbaugh, B.K. 2003 ‘Florida Moonlight’—A white fancy-leaved caladium for pots and shady landscapes HortScience 38 635 637
Rhodes, H.L. 1964 Effect of hot water treatment of seed tubers and soil fumigation for control of root knot on yield of caladiums Plant Disease Rptr. 8 568 571
Wilfret, G.J. 1991a Florida Sweetheart, a rose lance caladium for landscape and containers Univ. Fla., Inst. Food Agr. Sci Circulation S-380 Gainesville, FL
Wilfret, G.J. 1991b Florida Fantasy, a multicolored caladium for containers Univ. Fla., Inst. Food Agr. Sci Circulation S-381 Gainesville, FL