Caladiums (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are often grown in containers or planted in the landscape as accent and border plants (Deng, 2018; Evans et al., 1992). They are valued for their variable-shaped, bright foliage. The majority of commercial caladium plants sold at retail are produced by forcing tubers in containers. Florida field growers produce essentially all the caladium tubers used in the United States and some 40 countries in the world for the production of pot plants and direct planting in the landscapes. Commercial caladium cultivars are often grouped into eight categories based on their leaf type and impact color [fancy white, red, pink, and novelty, and lance (or strap) white, red, pink, and novelty] (Bell et al., 1998). One of the cultivars in the fancy novelty group is ‘Miss Muffet’. The leaves of this cultivar are characterized by a yellow (lemon or chartreuse) leaf background color, white main veins, and numerous burgundy spots. It ranked 40th among caladium cultivars grown by the Florida caladium industry in 1979 (Wilfret and Hurner, 1982). In the past 2 decades, this cultivar gained popularity. It ranked 19th in 2003 (Deng et al., 2008b), 16th in 2008, and 13th in 2013 (Z. Deng, unpublished data). The acreage in Florida planted for ‘Miss Muffet’ tuber production has been between 22 and 26 acres (Deng et al., 2008b; Z. Deng, unpublished data).
In caladium, the yellow leaf background color is controlled by a single dominant allele (LEM) and is tightly linked (≈3 to 4 cM) to the nonspotting allele (s) (Cao et al., 2017). The yellow leaf background color allele is expected to be tightly linked to the nonblotching allele (b) (Deng and Harbaugh, 2009). These genetic linkages may have led to the scarcity of commercial cultivars with yellow leaf background color and leaf spots or blotches.
‘Sea Foam Pink’ is a new addition to the fancy novelty caladium cultivar group, particularly to the ‘Miss Muffet’ subgroup. Leaves of ‘Sea Foam Pink’ are characterized by a novel coloration pattern: light yellow background color and multiple pink blotches (Figs. 1–3).
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