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W. Jack Rowe II, Daniel A. Potter, and Robert E. McNiel

authors thank P.G. Spicer and D.W. Held for technical assistance.

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Kent Cushman and Crofton Sloan

A circular garden, divided into eight sections or “slices,” was established for the purpose of demonstrating agriculture to youth. Each section of the garden represents a form of agriculture associated with the consumption of pizza. Soybeans were planted to represent oil, wheat to represent flour, vegetables to represent tomato sauce and vegetable toppings, herbs to represent spices, and pine trees to represent paper and cardboard products. A dairy cow, beef cow, and pig were fenced within separate sections to represent cheese, beef, and pork, respectively. The idea originated in Madera, Calif., from Thank-a-farmer, Inc. and was used with permission. The garden is an ongoing cooperative effort between research and extension personnel of Mississippi State University, local county officials, and area schools. The project has garnered support from the Mississippi Cattle Industry Board (start-up and maintenance funds), Heritage Vinyl Products (fencing), D.P. Fence Co. (construction), and Dominoe's Pizza (pizza lunches for the youth). We anticipate at least 1000 school children to visit the “Pizza Farm” each year, and we expect the community to continue to support and take pride in this project.

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Reddy R. Chinthakuntla, Frank Matta, Rao S. Mentreddy, Umesh Reddy, Padmavathi Nimmakayala, Daniel Peterson, and Om Prakash Vadhwa

Chilepepper (Capsicum spp.) is the third most important vegetable crop in the United States. The market value of chile peppers for spices and condiments exceeds $650 million per year. With a growing Hispanic population across the United States, the demand for high yielding, good quality cayenne pepper continues to increase. In order to fulfill this niche market, a study has been initiated to develop pepper varieties that combine high yield potential with superior agronomic traits, including insect and disease resistance, and fruit characteristics, using molecular marker assisted breeding/selection. In preliminary trials, several F1 generations were created through inter- and intra-specific crosses among 220 germplasm lines belonging to six Capsicumsp. in the greenhouse. Selected F1 progeny, parent lines, and selected accessions were planted in single-row field plots the following summer. The crossing success was higher within species than between. The genotypic variation was significant for all parameters examined. The average percent germination (81.1) of F1 progeny was 32% and 45% higher than that of the parent lines and selected accessions, respectively. The F1 progeny were shorter in height; more vigorous in growth, flowered early, and with fewer, but heavier, fruits per plant out-yielded the parent lines and accessions by 50% and 120%, respectively. The study showed a marked heterosis in F1 progeny compared to the parent lines and accessions. Microsatellite genotyping to estimate genetic diversity and validation of markers that are linked to various traits is in progress and will be discussed in the presentation.

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Allen D. Owings, Gordon E. Holcomb, Anthony L. Witcher, C. Allen Broyles, and Edward W. Bush

Performance evaluations of numerous annual and perennial herbaceous ornamentals were conducted in landscape settings in 2004 at the LSU AgCenter in Baton Rouge. A mid-summer through fall evaluation of Kong coleus found no difference in flowering performance and visual quality ratings of the five available cultivars. In a sun/shade study, Kong coleus cultivars in 60% shade were about 50% shorter than those in sun. Other impressive coleus have been Aurora Black Cherry and Mississippi Summer Sun. The Stained Glassworks series of coleus have been average performers. The Son series of lantanas (Sonrise, Sonset, Samson, Sonshine) have been top performers in terms of visual quality and continual bloom. All-America daylilies most prevalent to rust symptoms have included Judith, Leebea Orange Crush, Starstruck, Lady Lucille, and Chorus Line. Some rust has also been noted on Plum Perfect and Frankly Scarlet. Profusion Apricot and Profusion White have been less susceptible to Xanthomonas bacterial petal blight than Profusion Fire, Profusion Cherry, and Profusion Orange. Earth Kind roses, being promoted by Texas A&M, are being evaluated for landscape performance along with black spot and powdery mildew susceptibility. Most problematic cultivars thus far have included Georgetown Tea, Clotilde Soupert, Nacogdoches, Reve d'Or, New Dawn, Souvenir de St. Anne's, Spice, Lamarque, Puerto Rico, Sarah Jones, Ducher, and Louis Philippe. Lady Bird cosmos have been good late summer/early fall landscape performers.

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Arthur D. Wall, Marisa M. Wall, and Joe N. Corgan

Onions (Allium cepa L.) with ≥18% bulb dry weight are dehydrated and used for spices and food ingredients. Bulb weight characteristics and water-soluble carbohydrates (WSC) of two commercial dehydrator cultivars, GS02 and GS04, and a breeding population, NM9335, were studied before and after maturity to observe phenotypic traits that may be useful for selection during breeding programs, and to study dehydrator onion carbohydrate physiology. At maturity, NM9335, GS02, and GS04 bulbs had 11.9 ± 0.33%, 18.6 ± 0.27%, and 19.4 ± 0.40% dry weight, respectively. Mature GS04 plants had 76.5 ± 0.01% of whole plant dry weight in bulbs, which is an extraordinarily high crop harvest index. NM9335 bulbs had higher fresh (hydrated) weight than bulbs of GS04 and GS02, but bulbs in all populations accumulated similar amounts of dry weight. Bulb percent dry weight before maturity did not indicate percent dry weight at maturity in the high-solids commercial onion cultivars. Bulb percent dry weight declined slightly after maturity in all populations. Glucose, fructose, and sucrose were relatively low, and fructans with degree of polymerization ≥6 were relatively high in GS04, but the converse was observed in NM9335. Relative amounts of GSO4 bulb fructan increased sequentially, in order of rank, from DP4 to DP6, but the converse was observed for NM9335.

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M. D. McCullough, J. E. Motes, B. A. Kahn, and N. E. Maness

One of the problems associated with machine harvesting of spice peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) is plant lodging. Factorial combinations of four bedding treatments and two N rates were compared for effects on lodging and fruit yield of Chile at Fort Cobb and Bixby, Okla.. and of paprika at Bixby, Okla. Bedding treatments were: 1) no-bed; 2) no-bed with 5 cm of soil hilled to the bases of plants; 3) bedded preplant but bed not maintained throughout the growing season; and 4) bedded preplant and bed maintained throughout the growing season. All plots received preplant N at a low rate (45 kg ha-1). Half the plots also received a topdressing of 45 kg ha“ of N at early fruit set. No significant differences were found among the different bedding treatments for lodging. Bedding treatments one and three led to higher Chile yields at Bixby than treatments two and four. Bedding treatments one and two led to higher paprika yields than treatments three and four. Chiles showed an increase in plant height and width with the higher N rate at both locations. The higher N rate also increased plant dry matter and fruit yield in all three studies. Paprika uprooting force was greater in treatments two and four compared to treatments one and three.

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Jyotsna Sharma and Jim Rich

Plants infected with Meloidogyne spp. (root-knot nematodes) often are stunted and lose aesthetic value due to chlorosis, wilting, and leaf margin necrosis. We assessed reproduction of three root-knot nematode species, Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, and M. javanica, on five plant taxa native to the southeastern U.S. The plant taxa included were: Hydrangea quercifolia `Oakleaf', Viburnum obovatum `Densa', Itea virginica `Little Henry', Illicium parviflorum, and Clethra alnifolia `Ruby Spice'. Three commonly grown non-native shrubs, Ligustrum japonicum `Texanum', Ilexcrenata `Compacta', and Buxus microphylla `Wintergem', also were included in the study to serve as susceptible, positive controls. Highest gall rating (10) was observed on roots of I. crenata `Compacta' infected with M. incognita, but highest number of eggs (6397 eggs/g of roots) was observed in plants of this cultivar inoculated with M. javanica. Few or no galls were observed on roots of the five native plant taxa, and nematode eggs were recovered only from roots of I. virginica `Little Henry' inoculated with M. arenaria and M. javanica (13 and 20 eggs/g of roots, respectively). Fresh weights of shoots or roots were not affected by nematode inoculation. Due to lack of root gall development and little or no reproduction on the native taxa, we conclude that these are resistant or immune to the three species of Meloidogyne and might be suitable for planting in infested soil.

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Donglin Zhang, Hongwen Huang, and Dongyan Hu*

Horticultural plants include fruit, vegetable, ornamental, turf, medicinal, beverage, spice, and other economic species. Although these plants originally derive from wild populations and play a vital role in our daily life, their importance on protecting biodiversity has not been addressed. With tremendous driving force of their monetary value, farmers, gardeners, breeders, and researchers have domesticated, selected, and bred many new horticultural crops, which ultimately increase biological diversity in cultivated plant communities. Both morphological and molecular data from 90 accessions of cultivated Cephalotaxus and 48 accessions of cultivated Chamaecyparis thyoides demonstrated their wide range of morphological differences and more than 43% of genetic dissimilarity coefficients. In US alone, one new cultivar of Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum was released to the nursery industry every year since the first plant was introduced from Wuhan Botanical Garden in 1983. Obviously, human activities rapidly accelerate evolutions. To preserve and reproduce new and rare taxa, regeneration of these plants is challenging. Rooting of Magnolia grandiflora stem cuttings, overcoming Cephalotaxus seed dormancy, experimenting Pinus strobus embryogenesis, and overwintering Stewartia cuttings should be applied for reproduction studies of unusual horticultural clones. For plants that could not be regenerated with today's propagation methods, their seeds, tissues, pollen, and embryos should be preserved as some USDA labs do for heirloom horticultural crops. In the future, with aid of advanced science and technology, we should be able to regenerate those plants from preserved materials and increase biological diversity.

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Sandra M. Reed

Clethra alnifolia, which is commonly known as summersweet, is an attractive deciduous shrub that produces fragrant flower in mid-summer. Breeding efforts are hampered by a lack of information on the reproductive behavior of this native species. The objective of this study was to evaluate self-compatibility in C. alnifolia. Pollen germination and pollen tube growth in styles were examined following self- and cross-pollinations using fluorescence microscopy. Seed set and germination were compared following self- and cross-pollinations. While self-pollen tubes appeared to grow slightly slower than cross-pollen tubes, there was no indication of a self-incompatibility system acting at the stigmatic or stylar level in C. alnifolia. Self-pollinations of `Hummingbird' and `Ruby Spice' produced fewer seeds than did cross-pollinations of these cultivars. Germination of all seed obtained from this study was too poor to allow a comparison of germination rates of the self- and cross-pollinated seed. However, because a few self-progeny were obtained, emasculation is recommended when making controlled pollinations. The presence of a late-acting self-incompatibility system or early acting inbreeding depression was proposed as being responsible for the lower seed set following self-pollination.

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J. Baral and P.W. Bosland

Domesticated chile (Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum) is a widely cultivated spice and vegetable crop. It originated in the Western Hemisphere, but spread rapidly throughout the globe after the voyage of Columbus. However, very little is known about the genetic diversity of chile in Asia and especially in Nepal. Thus, research was conducted to document morphological as well as molecular characterization of C. annuum var. annuum landraces collected from Nepal. Genetic diversity in C. annuum var. annuum landraces from Nepal was investigated using randomly amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) markers and compared with that of C. annuum var. annuum landraces from the center of diversity, Mexico. RAPD marker based cluster analysis of C. annuum var. annuum clearly separated each accession. All accessions of C. annuum var. annuum from Nepal grouped into a single cluster at a similarity index value of 0.80, whereas, accessions from Mexico grouped into eight different clusters at the same similarity level indicating greater genetic diversity in Mexican accessions. RAPD analysis indicated that the Nepalese chile population went through an additional evolutionary bottleneck or founder effect probably due to intercontinental migrations. Some Nepalese accessions had unique RAPD markers suggesting that additional sources of genetic variation are available in Nepalese germplasm.