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.
Lantana species are an important component of the U.S. environmental horticulture industry. The most commonly produced and used species are L. camara and, on a smaller scale, L. montevidensis. Both were introduced to the United States from Central and/or South America. Lantana species native to the continental United States include L. canescens, L. depressa, L. involucrata, etc. and most of them have not been well exploited. This study was conducted to obtain information about somatic chromosome numbers, karyotypes, and genome size of these five species. Nuclear DNA content in these species ranged from 2.74 pg/2C (L. involucrata) to 6.29 pg/2C (L. depressa var. depressa). Four chromosome numbers were observed: 2n = 2x = 22 in L. camara ‘Lola’ and ‘Denholm White’, 2n = 4x = 44 in L. depressa var. depressa, 2n = 2x = 24 in L. canescens and L. involucrata, and 2n = 3x = 36 in L. montevidensis. Two basic chromosome numbers were observed: x = 11 in L. camara and L. depressa var. depressa, and x = 12 in L. canescens, L. involucrata, and L. montevidensis. Analysis of somatic metaphases resulted in formulas of 20m + 2sm for L. camara ‘Lola’ and ‘Denholm White’, 12m + 12sm for L. canescens, 44m for L. depressa var. depressa, 10m + 14sm for L. involucrata, and 32m + 4sm for L. montevidensis. Satellites were identified in all five species, but were associated with a different chromosome group in different species. L. depressa var. depressa had the longest total chromatin length (146.78 µm) with a range of 1.88 to 4.41 µm for individual chromosomes. The maximum arm ratio was observed in L. canescens, with a ratio of 2.5 in chromosome group 3. L. depressa var. depressa was the only species that had all of its centromeres located in the median region of the chromosome. The results show significant differences in nuclear DNA content, chromosome number, and karyotype among three native and two introduced lantana species and will help to identify, preserve, protect, and use native lantana species. The information will be helpful in assessing the ploidy levels in the genus by flow cytometry.
Gulf vervain (Verbena xutha) is a herbaceous perennial native to the southern United States. The species produces attractive spike inflorescences that provide a source of food for many pollinators. Besides botanical classifications, pollen morphology and cytological traits of this species have not been documented until now. Gulf vervain was found to have 2n = 42 chromosomes, with the first report of 2C nuclear DNA content of 2.95 pg. Convex-triangular pollen grains averaged 37.18 μm in diameter, with 84% stainability after cotton blue staining to estimate pollen viability. This information brings light to the genetic makeup of gulf vervain and may aid in future breeding programs.
Porterweed (Stachytarpheta spp.), a member of the verbena family, is frequently used in pollinator gardens to attract butterflies. This study was conducted to assess the morphological features, pollen stainability and morphology, nuclear DNA content, and chromosome number of five porterweed selections. Coral porterweed (S. mutabilis), ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed (S. cayennensis × S. mutabilis ‘Violacea’), and nettleleaf porterweed (S. cayennensis) had the largest plant heights. Flower number was significantly higher in nettleleaf porterweed, jamaican porterweed (S. jamaicensis), and U*J3-2 porterweed (S. cayennensis × S. jamaicensis), with an average of 65–72 flowers per inflorescence. Internode length and flower width of jamaican porterweed had much lower values than the other selections. Coral porterweed recorded the lowest pollen stainability with only 10.6% stainability, but it had the largest relative pollen production. ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed had the highest DNA content with an average of 3.79 pg/2C, like jamaican porterweed with 3.73 pg/2C. Ploidy levels varied between selections, and the basic chromosome number was x = 28. Coral, jamaican, and ‘Naples Lilac’ porterweed had 2n = 6x = 168 chromosomes, first reported in this genus. These results provide a guide and a new tool to distinguish native and non-native porterweed and may aid future breeding toward the production of noninvasive cultivars.
The newly released “Plant This Not That: A Guide to Avoiding Invasive Plant Species in Florida” booklet emerges as a crucial tool in cultivating a comprehensive understanding of invasive species, facilitating informed decision-making in plant selection. Its unique focus on illustrating alternatives to invasive plants, coupled with its accessible format, can empower individuals to contribute to the preservation of Florida, USA, ecosystems. The booklet’s impact was displayed through an in-service training for 58 University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension personnel. Following the in-service training, attendees demonstrated statistically significant improvements in their perceived knowledge of four key invasive species concepts. This study highlights the booklet and accompanying training’s potential as a valuable resource for mitigating the impacts of invasive plant species.