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Crossability of American tree peony ‘High Noon’ as seed parent with Japanese cultivars to breed superior cultivars

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The tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa Andr.) is a valuable ornamental plant. American and French cultivars have desirable flower colors, while, Japanese cultivars have larger flowers with better presentation. We hybridized an American tree peony cultivar ‘High Noon (HN)’ (the seed parent) with 57 different Japanese cultivars (pollen parents) to investigate cross compatibility, with the ultimate goal of obtaining improved hybrids. Of the 1,927 crosses performed, 135 (38 cross combinations) yielded a total of 181 seeds (86 mature) and 22 seedlings. Five of the hybrids have already flowered and exhibited their parent character with large yellow flowers. To investigate the causes of cross incompatibility, we examined pollen tube growth in a cross between ‘HN’ and a Japanese cultivar. The result indicated that there are three most important causes of incompatibility, namely, abnormal pollen tube growth, the failure of fertilized ovules, and poor seed germination. Although cross compatibility in each combination was low, crosses between ‘HN’ and Japanese cultivars might be successful with the right paternal plants. In this study, 13 Japanese cultivars had higher cross compatibility with ‘HN’ than the others. Our results will enhance tree peony breeding and guide the selection of parents for hybridization.

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Correspondence to Noriaki Aoki.

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Hao, Q., Aoki, N., Katayama, J. et al. Crossability of American tree peony ‘High Noon’ as seed parent with Japanese cultivars to breed superior cultivars. Euphytica 191, 35–44 (2013).

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