, Volume 205, Issue 3, pp 927–940 | Cite as

Quantitative and qualitative characterization of novel features of Kalanchoë interspecific hybrids

  • Katarzyna KuligowskaEmail author
  • Henrik Lütken
  • Brian Christensen
  • Renate Müller


Kalanchoë blossfeldiana and its cultivars are important worldwide as potted plants. Their improvement relies mainly on cross-breeding and interspecific hybridization, although the use of the resource of wild species was limited. The present study aimed to characterize novel features of interspecific hybrids that can increase attractiveness of these commercially important ornamental plants. We investigated the new traits of selected hybrids resulting from hybridization between K. blossfeldiana and three wild Kalanchoë species, namely K. nyikae, K. pubescens and K. marnieriana. The selected qualitative and quantitative traits of plant growth and flowering were analyzed in hybrids and parental species. The analysis demonstrated generally intermediate character of hybrids. Following principal component analysis, clear separation among plants forming three distinct clusters was observed, where hybrids were situated between the two parental species. The plants were clearly grouped according to flower characteristics, plant height and timing of flowering in all investigated groups. Quantitative analysis also revealed significant differences among parental plants and hybrids for all examined characteristics. Transgressive segregation and heterosis were observed in relation to specific traits such as days until first open flower, plant height, number of inflorescences, flower diameter and number of flowers. Pollen analysis of the interspecific hybrids revealed low viability of pollen or complete sterility. The interspecific hybrids exhibited novel features valuable for breeders. Thus, wide hybridization can contribute to the development of new cultivars and this study clearly demonstrates the usefulness of interspecific crosses in the improvement of Kalanchoë cultivars.


Heterosis Hybrid sterility Intermediate phenotype Interspecific hybrid Kalanchoë Transgressive trait 



The authors would like to thank Anita Mortensen, Else Bollerup, Ellen Christensen and Kai Lønne who contributed to the realization of this study as well as Knud Jepsen A/S, Hinnerup, Denmark, for providing plant material and Dr David Mackenzie for proofreading the manuscript. This project is a part of the innovation consortium “Innovative Plants” funded by the Danish Agency for Science, Technology and Innovation.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10681_2015_1441_MOESM1_ESM.docx (41 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 41 kb)


  1. Bomblies K (2010) Doomed lovers: mechanisms of isolation and incompatibility in plants. Annu Rev Plant Biol 61:109–124. doi: 10.1146/annurev-arplant-042809-112146 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Christensen B, Sriskandarajah S, Serek M, Müller R (2008) Transformation of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana with rol-genes is useful in molecular breeding towards compact growth. Plant Cell Rep 27(9):1485–1495. doi: 10.1007/s00299-008-0575-0 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Currey C, Erwin J (2011) Photoperiodic flower induction of several Kalanchoe species and ornamental characteristics of the flowering species. Hort Sci 46(1):35–40Google Scholar
  4. Descoings B (2003) Kalanchoe. In: Eggli U, Hartmann HEK (eds) Illustrated handbook of succulent plants. Crassulaceae. Springer, New York, pp 143–181Google Scholar
  5. Engels J, Van Kester W, Spitters C, Vosselman L, Zeven A (1975) Investigations of the inheritance of flower variegation in Mirabilis jalapa L. 1. General introduction and 2. Inheritance of colour in uniformly coloured flowers. Euphytica 24(1):1–5CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Floradania (2014) Floradania marketing. Top 10 over de største kulturer i Danmark 2013. Accessed 18 Dec 2014
  7. FloraHolland (2014) FloraHolland. Facts and figures 2013. Accessed 18 Dec 2014
  8. Garcia-Sogo B, Pineda B, Castelblanque L, Anton T, Medina M, Roque E, Torresi C, Beltran JP, Moreno V, Canas LA (2010) Efficient transformation of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana and production of male-sterile plants by engineered anther ablation. Plant Cell Rep 29(1):61–77. doi: 10.1007/s00299-009-0798-8 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Habu Y, Hisatomi Y, Iida S (1998) Molecular characterization of the mutable flaked allele for flower variegation in the common morning glory. Plant J 16(3):371–376. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-313x.1998.00308.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Izumikawa Y, Takei S, Nakamura I, Mii M (2007) Production and characterization of inter-sectional hybrids between Kalanchoe spathulata and K. laxiflora (= Bryophyllum crenatum). Euphytica 163(1):123–130. doi: 10.1007/s10681-007-9619-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Izumikawa Y, Nakamura I, Mii M (2008) Interspecific hybridization between Kalanchoe blossfeldiana and several wild Kalanchoe species with ornamental value. Acta Hort 743:59–66Google Scholar
  12. Kuligowska K, Lütken H, Christensen B, Skovgaard I, Linde M, Winkelmann T, Müller R (2015) Evaluation of reproductive barriers contributes to the development of novel interspecific hybrids in the Kalanchoë genus. BMC Plant Biol 15(1):15PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Lütken H, Jensen LS, Topp SH, Mibus H, Müller R, Rasmussen SK (2010) Production of compact plants by overexpression of AtSHI in the ornamental Kalanchoë. Plant Biotechnol J 8(2):211–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Lütken H, Laura M, Borghi C, Orgaard M, Allavena A, Rasmussen SK (2011) Expression of KxhKN4 and KxhKN5 genes in Kalanchoe blossfeldiana ‘Molly’ results in novel compact plant phenotypes: towards a cisgenesis alternative to growth retardants. Plant Cell Rep 30(12):2267–2279. doi: 10.1007/s00299-011-1132-9 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Lütken H, Clarke JL, Muller R (2012) Genetic engineering and sustainable production of ornamentals: current status and future directions. Plant Cell Rep 31(7):1141–1157. doi: 10.1007/s00299-012-1265-5 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Ng DWK, Lu J, Chen ZJ (2012) Big roles for small RNAs in polyploidy, hybrid vigor, and hybrid incompatibility. Curr Opin Plant Biol 15(2):154–161. doi: 10.1016/j.pbi.2012.01.007 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Rieseberg LH, Carney SE (1998) Plant hybridization. New Phytol 140:599–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rieseberg LH, Archer MA, Wayne RK (1999) Transgressive segregation, adaptation and speciation. Heredity 83(4):363–372. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2540.1999.00617.x CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Schwarzbach AE, Donovan LA, Rieseberg LH (2001) Transgressive character expression in a hybrid sunflower species. Am J Bot 88(2):270–277CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Singh RJ (2002) Pollen staining. In: Plant cytogenetics. 2nd edn. CRC press, boca Raton, p 21–23Google Scholar
  21. Traoré L, Kuligowska K, Lütken H, Müller R (2014) Stigma development and receptivity of two Kalanchoë blossfeldiana cultivars. Acta Physiol Plant 36(7):1763–1769. doi: 10.1007/s11738-014-1550-8 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Tychonievich J, Warner R (2011) Interspecific crossability of selected Salvia species and potential use for crop improvement. J Am Soc Hort Sci 136:41–47Google Scholar
  23. Van Tuyl JM, Lim K-B (2003) Interspecific hybridisation and polyploidisation as tools in ornamental plant breeding. Acta Hort 612:13–22Google Scholar
  24. Voorst A, Arends JC (1982) The origin and chromosome numbers of cultivars of Kalanchoe blossfeldiana Von Poelln.: their history and evolution. Euphytica 31(3):573–584. doi: 10.1007/BF00039195 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wang H, Jiang J, Chen S, Qi X, Fang W, Guan Z, Teng N, Liao Y, Chen F (2014) Rapid genetic and epigenetic alterations under intergeneric genomic shock in newly synthesized Chrysanthemum morifolium × Leucanthemum paludosum hybrids (Asteraceae). GBE 6(1):247–259PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Warner RM, Walworth AE (2010) Quantitative inheritance of crop timing traits in interspecific hybrid petunia populations and interactions with crop quality parameters. J Hered 101(3):308–316CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katarzyna Kuligowska
    • 1
    Email author
  • Henrik Lütken
    • 1
  • Brian Christensen
    • 2
  • Renate Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of CopenhagenTaastrupDenmark
  2. 2.AgroTech A/S, Institute for Agri Technology and Food InnovationTaastrupDenmark

Personalised recommendations