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Honeybee-mediated Controlled Pollinations in Cornus florida and C. kousa Intra- and Interspecific Crosses
- Wadl, Phillip A., Skinner, John A., Dunlap, John R., Reed, Sandra M., Rinehart, Timothy A., Pantalone, Vincent R., Trigiano, Robert N.
- HortScience 2009 v.44 no.6 pp. 1527
- Cornus florida, ornamental woody plants, plant breeding, interspecific hybridization, Cornus kousa, cross pollination, insect pollination, honey bees, pollinating insects, selfing, plant fertility, hybrids, cultivars, genetic variation, anthracnose, powdery mildew, disease resistance, genetic markers, DNA fingerprinting, microsatellite repeats, pollen, ultrastructure, self-pollination
- Flowering (Cornus florida L.) and kousa (C. kousa Hance) dogwoods are ornamental trees valued for their four-season appeal, but also for their importance to retail and wholesale nurseries. The popularity of kousa dogwood has increased in recent years as a result of its resistance to dogwood anthracnose and powdery mildew as compared with flowering dogwood, which is typically susceptible to those diseases. This range of resistance allows the development of intra- and interspecific cultivars with multiple disease resistance or a combination of disease resistance and specific ornamental traits. Breeding requires controlled crosses that are usually done manually, which is a labor-intensive process. Cornus florida and C. kousa have generally been found to be self-incompatible allowing for the breeding process to be made more efficient by not having to emasculate flowers. We have capitalized on the natural ability of honeybees and the self-incompatible nature of dogwood to perform self- and crosspollinations of flowering and kousa dogwood. Self-pollinations were conducted in 2006 and 2007 with C. florida ‘Appalachian Spring’ and ‘Cherokee Brave’ and with C. kousa ‘Blue Shadow’ and Galilean®. The flowering dogwood self-pollinations resulted in no seed production, whereas the kousa dogwood self-pollinations resulted in low seed production, indicating self-incompatibility. Intra- and interspecific crosses of flowering and kousa dogwood cultivars and breeding lines were conducted in 2006 to 2008. Honeybees were effective in facilitating seed production for all intraspecific crosses conducted. Seedling phenotypes of putative intra- and interspecific hybrids are similar and practically indistinguishable, so dogwood-specific simple sequence repeats were used to verify a sample of the putative hybrids. The results demonstrated that honeybees were effective in performing controlled pollinations and that honeybee-mediated pollinations provide an alternative to time-consuming hand pollinations for flowering and kousa dogwood.