Anthurium is a neotropical genus (Croat, 1988) belonging to the monocotyledonous family, Araceae, which includes more than 100 genera and ≈1500 species (Higaki et al., 1994). Native species of anthurium occur from northern Mexico through Central America and the Caribbean to southern Brazil (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996). Cultivated anthurium belongs to only two (Calomystrium and Porphyrochitonium) of the 18 sections outlined by Kamemoto and Kuehnle (1996). Interspecific hybridization between species of anthurium belonging to the section, Calomystrium, has resulted in an anthurium species complex referred to as Anthurium andraeanum Hort.
Anthurium is cultivated primarily for its showy cut flowers and glossy leaves, which are exported or sold locally. The cut flower comprises a spadix with over 300 spirally arranged minute flowers subtended by a brightly colored modified leaf, the spathe (Croat, 1988). Anthurium cut flowers are generally classified as standard-colored, obake types, or patterned types (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996). Standard types have a uniform color and may be red, pink, orange, coral, white, green, or purple. Obake types are bicolors with green at the lobes and another color at the center of the spathe. Other colors and patterns arise because of copigmentation (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996) or because of regulatory patterning (stripes or splashes).
The important horticultural features of the cut flower are its color, size, texture, shape and showiness of the spathe, spadix length and carriage, straightness of the peduncle and peduncle length, overall symmetry of the cut flower, and productivity (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996; Kamemoto et al., 1986).
Anthurium andraeanum Linden ex André was first introduced in the Caribbean in 1915 by Eugene André (Rapsey and Carr, 1968). With anthurium gaining popularity in the 1970s, many more accessions were introduced from The Netherlands (Dilbar, 1992). There are no standardized morphophysiological descriptors for anthurium available in the literature to characterize accessions of A. andraeanum Hort. or differentiate between them. Furthermore, the introduced accessions have not been systematically evaluated for horticultural performance and adaptability under local conditions. This information is critical for selecting parents for subsequent studies and for embarking on a breeding program.
The objective of the study was to determine useful morphophysiological descriptors for horticultural characterization of cultivated anthurium accessions as well as to identify a promising ideotype for breeding purposes.
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