Anthurium is a neotropical genus (Croat, 1988) belonging to the monocotyledonous family Araceae, which includes more than 100 genera and ≈1500 species (Croat, 1988; Higaki et al., 1994). Native species of Anthurium occur from Mexico through Central America and the Caribbean to Brazil (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996). Cultivated anthuriums belong to two (Calomystrium and Porphyrochitonium) of 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 that are exported or sold locally. 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 et al., 1986; Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996). Productivity is particularly important because it determines the profitability of an anthurium farm and hence is an important selection criterion in anthurium breeding (Elibox and Umaharan, 2012; van Herk et al., 1998). On average, a single growing axis produces only five or six cut flowers per year, and consequently a difference of one cut flower per plant per year may translate into large economic differences on a hectare basis (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996). Generally, in the Caribbean (Elibox, 2005; Elibox and Umaharan, 2012) and worldwide (Kamemoto and Kuehnle, 1996; Kamemoto and Nakasone, 1963), an average of six cut flowers per plant per year is considered critical for a profitable anthurium industry.
Although Trinidad and Tobago experiences two seasons (a dry and a wet season) per year, it has been found that seasonal difference in anthurium genotype productivity under shadehouse conditions, where shade regime, potting medium and watering, and fertilization regimes were controlled, was not significant (Campbell, 2006). Furthermore, anthurium productivity does not peak until after 3 years of field planting for either tissue-cultured plants or seedlings (Holder, 2005) and remains stable for at least 5 years thereafter. There has been very little progress with regard to productivity improvement in anthurium worldwide because there is no information on the heritability of productivity or its genetic basis, both of which are required in developing a breeding strategy to improve productivity in anthurium. The objective of this research is to determine the genetic basis for productivity in Anthurium andraeanum Hort.
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