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R.H. Bors and J.A. Sullivan

The potential of using Fragaria vesca L. as a bridge species for interspecific hybridization to F. nilgerrensis Schlect, F. nubicola Lindl., F. pentaphylla Losinsk, and F. viridis Duch. was investigated using a wide germplasm base of 40 F. vesca accessions. This study was successful in producing many hybrids between F. vesca and other diploid species indicating its value as a bridge species. Of the species used as males, F. nubicola, F. pentaphylla, and F. viridis accessions were more successful, averaging 8 to 16 fruit and 16 to 25 seeds/fruit. It was most difficult to obtain hybrids with F. nilgerrensis, which had only three seeds per fruit. Differences among pollen donors were minimal when hybrid seeds were germinated in vitro. For different species combinations, 75% to 99% of seeds had embryos and 77% to 89% of these embryos germinated. The lack of significant differences in crossability variables among the four F. vesca subspecies [i.e., ssp. americana (Porter) Staudt, ssp. bracteata (Heller) Staudt, ssp. vesca L., and ssp. vesca var. semper-florens L.] demonstrated the similarity between these species and the strong potential for gene flow between F. vesca and other diploid species. As European and North American F. vesca subspecies are not sufficiently divergent to differ in interspecific hybridization, F. vesca may be a younger species rather than an older progenitor species.

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Chad E. Finn and John R. Clark

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Ksenija Gasic and John E. Preece