Lantana (Lantana L., Verbenaceae) is produced and grown as an ornamental plant in the United States and many other countries in the world. The ornamental value of lantana comes from its bright-colored flowers. Other attributes of this plant include attraction to multiple species of butterflies; tolerance of drought, heat, and salt; low maintenance requirements; and ease of propagation (Bachman, 2018; Schoellhorn, 2004). With these attributes, lantana is commonly used in the landscape and gardens, including butterfly gardens and water-saving xeriscaping gardens. Propagation and production of lantana plants have been a significant component of the environmental horticulture industry in a number of countries in the world and multiple states in the United States. For example, a survey of the Florida nursery industry indicated that 19% of the responding nurseries produced lantana and the annual sales value of lantana in Florida was at more than $40 million (Wirth et al., 2004).
The majority of lantana plants in commercial production and landscape use belongs to Lantana camara L. This species is native to Central and South America, including the West Indies (Sanders, 2001) and was introduced to the United States in the 1800s (Swearingen and Bargeron, 2016). Since then, L. camara has escaped cultivation and become naturalized in 13 states in the United States (Swearingen and Bargeron, 2016). In Florida, escaped L. camara has hybridized with Lantana depressa Small, endangering this native species (FLEPPC, 2019; Hammer, 2004; Sanders, 1987). Lantana camara has been listed as a Category I invasive species in Florida by the Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC, 2019). The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Assessment of Non-Native Plants in Florida’s Natural Areas concluded that invasive L. camara is not to be recommended for production or landscape use in south, central, and north Florida (http://assessment.ifas.ufl.edu/). The assessment was based on data collected from escaped, naturalized L. camara. The Georgia Exotic Pest Plant Council (GA-EPPC, 2019) listed L. camara as a Category 3 exotic plant, which is a minor problem in Georgia natural areas, or is not yet known to be a problem in Georgia but is known to be problem in adjacent states (GA-EPPC, 2019).
A research program was initiated in 2004 at UF/IFAS’s Gulf Coast Research and Education Center (GCREC) to identify and develop infertile L. camara cultivars. The majority of commercial L. camara cultivars were found to be fertile (Czarnecki, 2011). New infertile cultivars are needed by the environmental horticulture industry and for protecting native species and the environment (Bechtloff et al., 2019). In 2016, we released two infertile triploid lantana cultivars, UF-1013A-2A (Bloomify Red) and UF-1011-2 (Bloomify Rose) (Deng et al., 2017). They performed well in variety trials (Bachman, 2018) and are well received by nursery growers.
‘UF-1013-1’ (Figs. 1 and 2) is a sibling of ‘Bloomify Red’ and shares the high level of male and female infertility and superior plant performance with ‘Bloomify Red’, but ‘UF-1013-1’ has shorter plants, larger flowers, a higher nuclear DNA content, and a different molecular marker profile. On the basis of the high level of male and female infertility of ‘UF-1013-1’ and its lack of hybridization potential with L. depressa, an Infraspecific Taxon Protocol request was submitted to the UF/IFAS Invasive Plants Working Group, and the Working Group unanimously approved the release of ‘UF-1013-1’ as a new sterile cultivar.
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