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Zhanao Deng and Brent Harbaugh

Caladiums (Caladium×hortulanum) are ornamental aroids often forced in containers or grown in the landscape for their colorful leaves. The aesthetic value of caladium plants is largely determined by their leaf characteristics. Caladium breeding can be traced back to the mid-1800s when Gregor Mendel conducted his plant hybridization experiments, but information on the inheritance of caladium traits has been rather scant. To understand the mode of inheritance for three typical leaf shapes and three main vein colors in caladium, controlled crosses were made among commercial cultivars and breeding lines, and segregation of leaf shape and/or main vein color in the progeny was analyzed. The observed segregation ratios indicated that a single locus with three alleles seemed to determine the main vein color in caladium. The white vein allele was dominant over the green vein allele, but recessive to the red vein allele, which was dominant over both white and green vein alleles. The three leaf shapes (fancy, lance, and strap) in caladium seemed to be controlled by two co-dominant alleles at one locus. Leaf shape segregation was skewed in some crosses, which might imply the existence of other factors involved in caladium leaf shape development. Chi-square tests revealed that leaf shape and main vein color were inherited independently in caladium.

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S. Brooks Parrish and Zhanao Deng

Cultivated caladium (Caladium × hortulanum; 2n = 2x = 30) is an important ornamental aroid for the environmental horticulture industry. A better understanding of its genetic diversity is needed for continued improvement of caladium. The caladium germplasm maintained in the University of Florida’s caladium breeding program were surveyed for potential variation in chromosome number and nuclear DNA content to gain a better understanding of caladium genetic diversity at the cytogenetic level. For the first time caladium triploidy was discovered in two breeding lines, UF-15-414 and UF-4407 with 2n = 3x = 45 chromosomes and a nuclear DNA content of 13.86 pg·2C−1. In addition, a new chromosome number (2n = 2x = 34) was found in one cultivar, ‘White Wing’. Compared with their diploid parents or grandparents, the triploids showed a distinct, attractive leaf morphology with rounder and thicker leaves. The pollen stainability of UF-15-414 and UF-4407 was 63% and 73%, respectively, indicating potential male fertility, which was unexpected. Analysis of simple sequence repeat (SSR) marker banding patterns confirmed that UF-15-414 was a direct progeny of UF-4407 through hybridization with the diploid cultivar Aaron, whereas UF-4407 might result from fusion of an unreduced (female or male) gamete with a reduced gamete. Chromosome counting and SSR marker analysis of ‘White Wing’ and its progeny cultivars ‘White Wonder’ and ‘White Delight’ suggested that ‘White Wing’ possibly transmitted its 34 chromosomes to progeny during sexual reproduction. The discovery and characterization of these triploids revealed the occurrence of natural sexual polyploidization in caladium and indicated good potential for creating and selecting new triploids for future caladium breeding. The observed new chromosome number in ‘White Wing’ and its progeny cultivars implies that other chromosome variations may be present among cultivated caladiums. In summary, these results revealed two male-fertile triploid caladiums and a new chromosome number that can enrich the cytogenetic diversity in future caladium cultivar development.

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Zhanao Deng and Brent K. Harbaugh

resulted in diverse and intriguing foliar coloration patterns in these plants ( Henny, 1988 ). These coloration patterns have been a major contributing component to the ornamental and/or economic value of a number of important ornamental aroids ( Henny and

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Richard J. Henny, Jianjun Chen, and Terri A. Mellich

cultivars 466 472 Janick J. Whipkey A. Trends in new crops and new uses ASHS Press Alexandria, VA Henny, R.J. Norman, D.J. Chen, J. 2004 Progress in ornamental aroid breeding Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. 91 465 473 Royal Horticultural Society The Royal Horticultural

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W.L. Chen and D.M. Yeh

carrying and spreading disease. Tissue culture is preferable for rapid multiplication of healthy plants. However, endogenous microbial contamination is known to be one of the most serious problems in tissue culture of ornamental aroids, including

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Zhanao Deng, Fahrettin Goktepe, Brent K. Harbaugh, and Jinguo Hu

for other ornamental aroids ( Chen et al., 2004a , 2004b , 2004c ; Henny, 1977 ). Reduced genetic diversity could result in increased vulnerability to new diseases and pests and in reduced genetic variation for cultivar development. Some genetic

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Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, and Natalia A. Peres

Caladiums ( Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are ornamental aroids valued for their bright colorful leaves. They are commonly used as container and landscape plants. Pink cultivars have been very popular and the most popular pink

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Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, and Natalia A. Peres

Caladiums ( Caladium × hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are tropical ornamental aroids often used as potted plants or for providing color in the landscape. The propagules used in pots or landscapes are tubers, the underground storage organ of

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Zhanao Deng and Brent K. Harbaugh

Caladiums ( Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are ornamental aroids commonly used as container and landscape plants ( Evans et al., 1992 ; Harbaugh and Tjia, 1985 ). They are valued for bright colorful leaves and low

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Zhanao Deng, Brent K. Harbaugh, and Natalia A. Peres

Caladiums ( Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey, Araceae Juss.) are ornamental aroids grown for their bright, colorful leaves. Their short forcing period, shade tolerance, and low maintenance requirements in the landscape make caladiums popular among