Agronomic potential of fruit size and yield traits in blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) foundation germplasm

Abstract

The blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) is a mesophytic shrub with northern provenance. Mixed buds develop on the previous season’s growth and produce pairs of flowers that form compound accessory fruit similar in colour to a blueberry but more elongated in shape. With adaptation to cold continental climates presenting a barrier to phenological adaptation to temperate climates, agronomic challenges such as modest yields and small fruit size compound limitations to mainstream production. To understand variability within three foundation germplasm groups from Russia, Japan and the Kuril Islands, evaluation of fruit yield, weight, length and width was conducted across three sites in a temperate climate in the Fraser Valley, British Columbia, Canada in 2012 and 2013. The Japanese and Kuril groups were sources of greater fruit yield, weight and width, while the Japanese and Russian groups were both sources of greater fruit length. The genetic differences in fruit weight, length and width between groups were complex but this is understood in relation to relative degrees of elongation and apparent density. Across the germplasm, fruit weight was a primary driver of yield, and it was more closely associated with width than length. However, within foundation groups, fruit weight had a stronger correlation with fruit length, and there were complex relationships between size parameters that varied across groups. Therefore, this study found that the diversity in these morphological features suggests mainstream agronomic potential.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Tom Baumann, Alf Krause and Travis Hopcott for providing land for field trial sites and for their technical assistance; Maxine Thompson (Oregon State University), Maria Plekhanova (Vavilov Institute) and Jim Gilbert (One Green World Nursery) for providing the foundation blue honeysuckle germplasm used in this study. EMG was a grateful recipient of the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada’s Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate and Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships; and the Robert P. Knowles Plant Breeding Scholarship.

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Correspondence to Eric M. Gerbrandt.

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Part of a Ph.D. thesis (EMG) submitted to the University of Saskatchewan.

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Gerbrandt, E.M., Bors, R.H. & Chibbar, R.N. Agronomic potential of fruit size and yield traits in blue honeysuckle (Lonicera caerulea L.) foundation germplasm. Euphytica 214, 107 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10681-018-2184-5

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Keywords

  • Genetic resources
  • Fruit weight
  • Temperate climate
  • Haskap
  • Honeyberry