Inheritance of Internode Length and its Relation to Head Exsertion and Head Size in Broccoli

in Journal of the American Society for Horticultural Science

Broccoli (Brassica oleracea L. Italica Group) lines with heads borne above the foliage (exserted) favorably for mechanical harvest were crossed with inbred lines with nonexserted heads. Length of the heads, defined as the portion of the plant above the highest major leaf, was ≈50% of the total plant height in short and tall parents and all plants of the F1, F2, and backcross generations. The principal characteristic identified with good head exsertion was long internodes. Internode length was inherited mostly in an additive manner, with some effect of hybrid vigor apparent in the F1, F2, and backcross to the tall parent. Plant height was also inherited in an additive manner. Head weight in the high-exsertion parent was much lower than in the low-exsertion parent. Within each parent and the F1, head weight was greater in plants with longer internodes and greater plant height. In the segregating generations (F2 and backcross), head weight increased with decreasing internode length, indicating that selection for high head exsertion would result in smaller heads and reduced yield.

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