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Mark P. Bridgen and J. Bartok

Red- and pink-flowering cultivars of Alstroemeria were grown with and without cooling tubes placed in the growing medium. Cooling tubes were placed immediately below, 5 cm below, and 10 cm below the surface of the medium. Cooling was obtained by circulating well water (10 to 15C) through polyethylene tubing. Air and media temperatures were recorded every 3 to 10 days in the morning and in the late afternoon to determine if positioning of the cooling tubes had an effect on the medium temperature. The air temperature was warmer than the noncooled medium, which, in turn, was significantly warmer than the cooled medium. There were no significant differences in media temperatures among the three cooling treatments. Flowering of cooled Alstroemeria cultivars continued for 2 months longer at the end of the summer and reinitiated 1 month earlier than the noncooled control. Both cultivars produced significantly more total flowers when grown in cooled medium. Flower production was greatest in the summer for plants with tubes 10 cm below the surface and least for plants in noncooled medium. This trend continued when flowering was reinitiated; however, by April of the following year, all treatments were equal in flower production.

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Alessandro Chiari, George C. Elliott, and Mark P. Bridgen

Seven resin-coated fertilizers (RCF) (Osmocote 19–6–12, 18–6–12, 14–14–14, 13–13–13, and 19–6–12, and Polyon 19–6–12, 17–17–17, and 13.5–13.5–13.5) were applied to marketable potted Alstroemeria hybrid FL101 plants to determine their effects on postproduction flowering and growth. The nonfertilized control produced the greatest number of floral stems, total florets, and mean number of florets per stem, but these plants were extremely chlorotic and spindly, and had the lowest fresh weight and number of vegetative stems. In a subsequent experiment, plants were fertilized with low, medium, and high concentrations of either Osmocote 19–6–12 or Sierra HighN 24–4–8. Nonfertilized controls were again chlorotic and spindly, but produced as many florets as fertilized plants. Plants fertilized with Osmocote 19–6–12 had greater fresh weight and more vegetative stems, but fewer total florets than those fertilized with Sierra HighN 24–4–8. We concluded that potted Alstroemeria do not need fertilizer for continued flowering, and fertilization favors production of vegetative stems relative to flowering stems. However, application of RCF to marketable plants prevents chlorosis, increases fresh weight, and, if low to moderate rates of formulations with N–P ratios of at least 6:1 are applied, does not inhibit flowering.

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Joseph J. King and Mark P. Bridgen

Presowing treatments and temperature regimes were tested to improve germination of Alstroemeria hybrids 3 to 12 months following harvest. In addition, seeds from 20 intraspecific F1 hybrids of five selections were also tested 3 to 7 or 8 to 12 weeks following harvest. Seeds were pretreated by chipping the seedcoat above the embryo, general abrasion of the entire seedcoat, or soaking 12 hours in distilled water, GA, (0.029, 0.29, 2.9 mm), or KNO3 (0.5 and 1.0 m). Pretreatments were evaluated under three environmental regimes: 8 weeks at a constant 18-25C (warm), 4 weeks at 18-25C followed by 4 weeks at 7C (warm-cold), or 4 weeks at 7C followed by 4 weeks at 18-25C (cold-warm). There was an interaction between pretreatment and environmental regime for percent germination. Germination percentages for the water soak and GA, at 0.29 or 2.9 mm were significantly higher than for the other pretreatments, but were not significantly different from one another. The warm-cold environment yielded higher germination percentages than the other environments. The time to germination was longest for the cold-warm regime. This response depended on the genotype and the age of the seed. Chemical name used: gibberellic acid (GA3).

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Elizabeth L. Kollman and Mark P. Bridgen

Alstroemeria, the Inca Lily or Lily-of-the-Incas, is becoming a popular garden plant in the United States. In past years, the primary interest in Alstroemeria has been for its cut flowers. However, recent cold-hardy introductions (USDA hardiness zone 5) have expanded the interest of this colorful plant as a garden perennial throughout the United States. Previously, garden interests were restricted to warmer zones in the southern United States where Alstroemeria could overwinter. This research describes a breeding procedure that has been used with the objective to develop a cold-hardy, white-flowered Alstroemeria. The interspecific hybrids were bred with the use of in ovulo embryo rescue. Reciprocal crosses were made between several white-flowered cultivars and the cold-hardy Chilean species Alstroemeriaaurea during Summer 2004. Ovaries were collected 10–23 days after hand pollination and their ovules were aseptically excised. Ovules were placed in vitro on 25% Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium under dark conditions until germination. Three weeks after germination, they were then placed on 100% MS medium, and subcultured every 3–4 weeks thereafter until they were large enough for rooting. After rooting and acclimation, plants were transferred to the greenhouse. Successful hybrids that were produced in 2004 were evaluated under greenhouse and field trials during 2005, and the number of plants with white-colored flowers was noted. Although certain morphological characteristics indicate if plants are coldhardy, the hybrids will be overwintered outside in Ithaca, N.Y. (USDA zone 5), during the next several years to determine winter hardiness.

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Mark Bridgen

Alstroemeria, also known as Lily-of-the-Incas, Inca Lily, or Peruvian Lily, has been bred at the Univ. of Connecticut since 1985. In vitro procedures have been integrated with traditional breeding techniques to create new and exciting cultivars. Embryo culture has been used to generate interspecific, intraspecific, and intergeneric hybrids that would not have been possible with traditional breeding. Somaclonal variation has been used to create new plants from spontaneous and induced mutations, but, in most cases, the plants have not been acceptable commercially. Chromosome doubling with colchicine has been used for fertility restoration of sterile diploids. Somatic embryogenesis has also been studied quite extensively; somatic embryos are easily obtained from zygotic embryos of Alstroemeria. In vitro fertilization procedures are currently being studied in order to hasten embryo development after hybridization has occurred. Because Alstroemeria plants are slow to propagate by traditional rhizome division, micropropagation is used to multiply new cultivars rapidly. Because the production of pathogen-free plants is one of the goals of our breeding and new plant introduction programs, meristem culture and thermotherapy are also being studied. All of these techniques will be described during the workshop.

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Mark P. Bridgen

Traditional and biotechnological breeding techniques are being united to develop exciting new plants and to improve existing cultivated plants by introducing natural variability from germplasm resources. Intervarietal, interspecific and intergeneric crosses can be accomplished by using plant embryo culture techniques, sometimes also referred to as embryo rescue. Embryo culture involves the isolation and growth of immature or mature zygotic embryos under sterile conditions on an aseptic nutrient medium with the goal of obtaining a viable plant. The technique depends on isolating the embryo without injury, formulating a suitable nutrient medium, and inducing continued embryogenic growth and seedling formation. The culture of immature embryos is used to rescue embryos from hybrid crosses that were once thought to be incompatible because they would normally abort or not undergo the progressive sequence of ontogeny. The culture of mature embryos from ripened seeds is used to eliminate seed germination inhibitors, to overcome dormancy restrictions, or to shorten the breeding cycle. New and exciting cultivars of Alstroemeria, also known as Lily-of-the-Incas, Inca Lily, or Peruvian Lily, have been bred by using zygotic embryo culture; these techniques and applications will be discussed.

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Elizabeth Kollman and Mark Bridgen

Alstroemeria, the Inca lily or lily-of-the-Incas, is becoming a popular garden plant in the United States. In past years, the primary interest in Alstroemeria has been for its cut flowers. However, recent cold-hardy introductions (USDA hardiness zone 5) have expanded the interest of this colorful plant as a garden perennial throughout the U.S. Previously, garden interests were restricted to warmer zones in the southern United States where Alstroemeria could over-winter. This research describes a breeding procedure which has been used with the objective to develop a cold-hardy, white flowered Alstroemeria. The interspecific hybrids were bred with the use of in ovulo embryo rescue. Reciprocal crosses were made between several white-flowered cultivars and the cold hardy Chilean species, Alstroemeria aurea during the summers of 2004 and 2005. Ovaries were collected 10–23 days after hand pollination and their ovules were aseptically excised. Ovules were placed in vitro on 25% Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium under dark conditions until germination. Three weeks after germination they were then placed on 100% MS medium, and subcultured every three to four weeks thereafter until they were large enough for rooting. After rooting and acclimation, plants were transferred to the greenhouse. Successful hybrids that were produced in 2004 were evaluated under greenhouse and field trials during 2005. Data on the flower color for each of the hybrids were recorded, as well as certain morphological characteristics that can indicate cold-hardiness. Hybrid plants are being overwintered outside in Ithaca, N.Y. (USDA zone 5), and Riverhead, N.Y. (USDA zone 7), during the next several years for a more accurate assessment of cold-hardiness. Self pollinations and reciprocal crosses with the white-flowered parent were performed on the F1 generation in the summer and fall of 2005 in order to determine segregating characteristics. Few ovules were obtained from F1 generation crosses. Successful F2generation plants are being grown in vitro and will be transferred to the greenhouse where flower color will be noted. Root squashes and pollen staining were completed to determine ploidy levels and assess male sterility of the F1 generation.