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  • Author or Editor: Brent K. Harbaugh x
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Caladium (Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey) is an important aroid widely used in the ornamental plant industry. Concerns have been raised about possible loss of genetic diversity due to a drastic decline in the number of cultivars in the last century. This study assessed genetic diversity and relationships among caladium cultivars and species accessions. Forty-five major cultivars and 14 species accessions were analyzed based on 297 DNA fragments produced by the target-region amplification polymorphism marker system. A low level of diversity (44.4% polymorphism) was exhibited in cultivars, while a high level of diversity (96.8% polymorphism) was present among seven accessions of Caladium bicolor (Aiton) Vent., Caladium marmoratum Mathieu, Caladium picturatum C. Koch, and Caladium schomburgkii Schott. A small percentage (7.6%) of DNA fragments was present in cultivars but absent in the seven species accessions, while a high percentage (32.2%) of DNA fragments was present in the seven species accessions but absent in cultivars. Cultivars shared a higher level of similarity at the molecular level with an average Jaccard coefficient at 0.802, formed a large group in cluster analysis, and concentrated in the scatter plot from a principal-coordinate analysis. Two accessions of C. bicolor and C. schomburgkii were very similar to cultivars with Jaccard similarity coefficients from 0.531 to 0.771, while the rest of the species accessions had small similarity coefficients with cultivars (0.060 to 0.386). Caladium steudnirifolium Engler and Caladium lindenii (André) Madison were very dissimilar to C. bicolor, C. marmoratum, C. picturatum, and C. schomburgkii, with Jaccard similarity coefficients from 0.149 to 0.237 (C. steudnirifolium) and from 0.060 to 0.118 (C. lindenii). There is a limited amount of molecular diversity in caladium cultivars, but the great repertoire of unique genes in species accessions could be used to enhance the diversity in future cultivars and reduce potential genetic vulnerability.

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Central Florida has a climate similar to many locations in the southeastern United States and parts of Asia, Europe, and Australia. Thus, Florida is an important testing ground for new bedding plant cultivars not only in the United States, but around the world. The authors evaluated 125 petunia (Petunia ×hybrida) cultivars in replicated class tests at Bradenton, Fla. (lat. 27º4′N, long. 82º5′W) in 2000–04 and at Balm, Fla. (lat. 27º8′N, long. 82º2′W) in 2005–06. In this report they establish petunia classes and cultivar standards for each class, and provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics, and subjective performance ratings. Petunia cultivars were grouped into 73 classes based on the distinguishing characteristics for petunia, which are plant type and height, and flower type, color, and color pattern. Comparisons were made within each class to determine performance and to select a cultivar as the standard for the class—a plant with the highest overall performance rating that can represent the class in future trials against new cultivars. During the initial trials, larger numbers of cultivars were evaluated and eliminated from future comparisons when each class standard was selected. Many flower colors and color combinations, as well as plant types and other distinctive characteristics have been developed for bedding plants. By creating class standards for each distinctive characteristic, better choices over a wider range of classes are available to growers and landscapers in this climate. Cultivars with an outstanding overall performance rating (combined foliage, flower, arthropod feeding symptom, and disease symptom ratings ≥5.5 points on a 1 to 7-point scale) for class standard selections were (floribunda, single mix class) ‘Madness Waterfall Mix’ and [single purple (dark), red-violet class] ‘Madness Magenta’; [grandiflora, single blue (dark) class] ‘Eagle Blue’, (single orange shades/tints class) ‘Ultra Salmon’, and [single purple (dark), red-violet class] ‘Storm Violet’; and [spreading, normal, orange (dark) shades/tints class] ‘Ramblin’ Salmon Capri’, [orange (light) shades/tints class] ‘Ramblin’ Peach Glo’, [pink (dark) class] ‘Wave Pink’, [purple (dark), blue-violet class] ‘Avalanche Lavender’, [purple (light) blue-violet class] ‘Ramblin’ Lavender’, (red class) ‘Avalanche Red Improved’, (rose class) ‘Avalanche Rose Improved’, (white class) ‘Plush White’, and [spreading, tall; blue (dark) class] ‘Wave Blue’. These cultivars would likely perform well in the southern United States or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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Florida is one of the top wholesale producers of bedding plants, and in 2003 was ranked fourth in the United States in annual bedding plant production and fifth in potted pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) and viola (V. cornuta) production. Evaluation of viola cultivars is vital for continued growth of the industry. We evaluated 66 viola cultivars in replicated class tests at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Bradenton from 2000-04 and determined the best-of-class for use in future trials to compare against new entries in the same class. In this report, we provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics as well as subjective performance ratings. Viola cultivars were grouped into classes based on growth habit (standard vs. creeping), flower color, and flower color pattern, and the best cultivar in each class was determined. Cultivars with an outstanding overall performance rating (combined foliage, flower, arthropod feeding symptom, and disease symptom ratings ≥5.5 out of a 7 high scale) for best-of-class selections were: (standard black class) `Sorbet Black Delight'; (standard cream class) `Velour Cream Splash'; (standard mix class) `Babyface Mixture'; (standard orange with purple, red-violet cap class) `Penny Orange Jump-Up'; [standard purple (dark), blue-violet with dark eye and light cap class] `Angel Violet Blotch'; (standard white class) `Penny White'; [standard white face with purple (dark), red-violet cap class] `Skippy White With Violet Wing'; (standard yellow class) `Jewel Lemon Yellow'; (standard yellow with blotch class) `Babyface Yellow'; [standard yellow/white face with purple (dark), blue-violet cap class] `Penny Classic Jump-Up'. Solitary cultivar entries (without comparison) with outstanding performance were: `Angel Frosted Yellow Blotch', `Angel Violet Duet', `Babyface White', `Eryln Purple Yellow', `Four Seasons Yellow With Pink Wing', `Gem Antique Apricot', `Gem Antique Pink', `Gem Antique Lavender', `Hobbit Bilbo Baggins', `Jewel Deep Blue', `Penny Azure Twilight', `Penny Beaconsfield', `Penny Cream', `Penny Orange', `Penny Orchid Frost', `Penny Purple', `Penny Yellow Jump-Up', `Princess Lavender and Yellow', `Princess Purple and Gold', `Rebel Yellow', `Sorbet Coconut Swirl', `Sorbet Icy Blue', `Sorbet Lemon Swirl', `Sparkler Purple Orange Face', and `Sparkler Purple Wing'. These cultivars would likely perform well in the southern U.S. or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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Phosphorus is considered a major pollutant of lakes in central Florida, and growers producing crops in the Lake Okeechobee watershed are being challenged to reduce use of P fertilizer. Caladium (Caladium×hortulanum Birdsey) tubers are produced on organic soils within this area. This study was done to determine if current commercial P fertilization rates could be reduced or eliminated, since these organic soils have high levels of water extractable P (Pw). Two farms were selected with low (Farm A 19 lb/acre; 21 kg·ha-1) or high (Farm B 59 lb/acre; 66 kg·ha-1) preplant Pw levels. Production of caladium tubers with the standard grower P fertilization practice (Farm A = P at 39.2 lb/acre; 43.9 kg·ha-1, or Farm B = P at 15.9 lb/acre; 17.8 kg·ha-1) was compared to production with either one-half the standard grower rate of P or no P. The percentage of harvested tubers in each of five grades and the estimated harvested tuber value index were similar irrespective of the amount of P fertilizer used on either farm. These results indicate that P could be eliminated from the fertilization program for caladium tuber production on organic soils.

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Three lisianthus [Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf.) Shinn.] cultivars 0, 10, 17, 24, or 31 days from sowing were grown in 28C soil for 0, 7, 14, 21, or 28 days to determine the effects of high temperature during seedling growth on the development of rosetted plants. Increasing the duration of high-temperature exposure increased the percentage of rosetted plants for all cultivars. Such exposure for 28 days resulted in 96%, 93%, and 18% rosetted plants for cultivars Yodel White, Yodel Pink, and GCREC-Blue, respectively. Seedling age did not affect percentage of flowering `Yodel Pink' plants, but as seedling age increased to 31 days, the percentage of flowering plants increased with `GCREC-Blue' and decreased for `Yodel White'. In a second experiment, four lisianthus cultivars were grown at 22C for 3 weeks and then exposed for 28 days to soil at 22, 25, 28, or 31C. Increasing soil temperature resulted in more rosetted plants for all cultivars. With soil at 31C, 83%, 58%, 19%, and 2% of the seedlings rosetted for the cultivars USDA-Pink, Yodel White, Little Belle Blue, and GCREC-Blue, respectively.

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Florida is one of the top wholesale producers of bedding plants, and in 2003 was ranked fourth in annual bedding plant production and fifth in potted pansy/viola production. Evaluation of pansy cultivars is vital for continued growth of the industry. We evaluated 210 cultivars of pansy (Viola ×wittrockiana) (164 new cultivars) in replicated class tests at the University of Florida's Gulf Coast Research and Education Center at Bradenton, Fla., from 2000–04 to determine the best-of-class and use them in future trials to compare against new entries in the same class. In this report, we provide objective plant measurements of vegetative and floral characteristics as well as subjective performance ratings. Subjective ratings were on a 1 to 7 scale with the highest rating of 7 for excellent. In general, overall performance ratings (combined foliage, flower, arthropod, and disease ratings) ≥5.5 were considered outstanding. Pansy cultivars were grouped into classes based on flower color and pattern. Best-of-class selections that had an outstanding overall performance rating in one or more contested trials, never falling below 5.0 in other contested trials, were: (black class) `Accord/Banner Black Beauty', (blue shades/tints class) `Nature Blue', (blue with blotch class) `Nature Ocean', (mix class) `Panola Clear Mixture', (pink shades/tints with blotch class) `Nature Pink Shades', [purple (dark), blue-violet with white cap class] `Nature Beacon', [purple (dark), blue-violet/white face with blotch class] `Panola Purple With Face', (purple with light eye class) `Baby Bingo Lavender Blue', (white class) `Nature White', (yellow class) `Nature Yellow', (yellow with blotch and purple, blue-violet cap class) `Iona Purple & Yellow With Blotch', (yellow with blotch and red cap class) `Bingo Red & Yellow', (yellow with blotch and red cap class) `Panola Yellow With Blotch', (yellow with dark veins class) `Whiskers Yellow'. We believe these cultivars would perform well in the southern U.S. or areas of the world with similar heat and cold hardiness zones.

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Caladiums (Caladium ×hortulanum) are popular ornamental plants widely grown for their bright colorful leaves. Pythium root rot, caused by Pythium myriotylum, is one of the few soil-borne diseases in caladium that dramatically reduces plant growth, aesthetic value, and tuber yield. Information on the reaction of caladium cultivars to P. myriotylum is not available, but would be valuable for integrated control of this disease and for breeding new resistant cultivars. Three Pythium isolates obtained from decaying roots of plants collected from a field production site and two greenhouses were evaluated for pathogenicity and potential use in experiments to screen commercial caladium cultivars for resistance. All three isolates were found to be highly virulent; they were able to cause obvious root rotting within 3 to 5 days and severe root rotting and leaf losses on susceptible cultivars within 10 days after inoculation. Nineteen major commercial cultivars were evaluated for their resistance to these isolates. Fifteen of the cultivars were susceptible or highly susceptible to Pythium infection. Four widely grown cultivars, `Candidum', `Candidum Jr.', `Frieda Hemple', and `White Christmas', were found to have a moderate level of resistance (partial resistance) to pythium root rot. Pythium infection also caused leaf discoloration, epinasty, wilting, and collapse. Regression analyses revealed a linear relationship between the root rot and leaf loss severity on Pythium-inoculated plants.

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Caladiums, widely used in containers and landscapes as ornamental plants for their bright colorful leaves, are generally forced or grown from tubers. Commercial production of these tubers in central Florida is through dividing “seed” tubers and growing them in fields. Tuber quality is therefore of critical importance to success in container forcing, landscape use, and tuber production. Fusarium tuber rot (Fusarium solani) has been recognized as the most-destructive disease that affects caladium tuber quality. There is anecdotal evidence from growers indicating the existence of resistance in commercial caladium cultivars. To identify and confirm the source of fusarium tuber rot resistance in caladium, F. solani isolates have been collected from rotting tubers grown under different soil conditions and from different locations. The pathogenecity of these isolates has been tested through artificial inoculation of fresh harvested and/or stored tubers, and a number of highly virulent isolates have been identified. These isolates have been used to refine inoculation and disease evaluation techniques. Two techniques, spraying a conidial suspension onto fresh cut surfaces and inserting Fusarium-infested carnation leaf segments into artificial wounds, have proven to yield consistent resistance/susceptibility ratings among cultivars of known difference in resistance to fusarium tuber rot. Appropriate incubation temperatures and humidity seem to be very critical for disease development and evaluation. The two techniques have been used to evaluate 35 cultivars. Several cultivars, including `Candidum', showed a high level of resistance to fusarium tuber rot, and may be good breeding parent for developing new resistant cultivars.

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