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Generation and characterisation of colchicine-induced autotetraploid Lavandula angustifolia

Urwin, Nigel A. R., Horsnell, Jennie, Moon, Therese
Euphytica 2007 v.156 no.1-2 pp. 257-266
Lavandula angustifolia, autopolyploidy, tetraploidy, colchicine, chemical treatment, DNA, flow cytometry, trichomes, plant morphology, leaves, calyx
Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) is a small woody perennial grown for essential oil, which is steam distilled from flowers. To potentially improve size of flowers and oil yield we produced and characterised autotetraploid plants. L. angustifolia seed germinated in the presence of the mitotic spindle inhibitor colchicine at concentrations of 125 mg l-¹ or less resulted in plants carrying sports with larger flowers. Propagation of two sports gave rise to putative polyploid cultivars C3/2 and C6/24. Direct chromosome counts in root tip cells of seedlings from four common cultivars of L. angustifolia and the seed lot from which C3/2 and C6/24 were derived was 50 whereas C3/2 and C6/24 had greater than 90 chromosomes indicating they were autotetraploid. Ploidy level assessed by flow cytometry (FCM) of nuclei showed that 12 cultivars of L. angustifolia had similar nuclear DNA content whereas C3/2 and C6/24 had double the amount of DNA confirming autotetraploidy. The genome size (1C-value) of a diploid L. angustifolia cultivar was estimated by FCM to be 0.90 (±0.07) pg. Morphological characteristics were measured in autotetraploid and control plants. Autotetraploids had thicker peduncles, larger flowers and larger seeds than diploids. Scanning electron microscopy revealed peltate glandular trichomes were larger in the tetraploids relative to diploids. Both tetraploid and diploid cultivars had complex non-glandular trichomes on leaves and sepals and two different types of capitate glandular trichomes were identified on leaves. Autotetraploid lavenders represent useful germplasm both for commercial oil production and future breeding.