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HYB: toughness - ? selection vs genetics

  • Subject: HYB: toughness - ? selection vs genetics
  • From: Linda Mann <lmann@icx.net>
  • Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 07:26:16 -0400

A couple of hybridizers have expressed the opinion that TB genetics are
so scrambled that anything can happen as far as toughness is concerned,
and that careful selection will give tough plants as readily as studying
pedigrees and using tough ancestors.  I think Ben Hager wrote an article
in the AIS Bulletin that expressed something along those lines as well.
He discussed SNOW FLURRY in particular as a having been used as a parent
a lot in supposedly difficult climates in spite of it being out of
supposedly tender background.

After reading Hager's comments, I bought SNOW FLURRY and it does quite
well here.  Altough the bloom is affected by late freezes to some
extent, it certainly does better than many (most).

On the other hand, I look at the rampant growth of I. reichenbachii here
(still a thick, lush, green clump in spite of our wacko weather) and
can't imagine that having some of those genes in the mix wouldn't
increase the probability of getting tough seedlings.  Similarly, I look
at the profuse, reliable bloom on those antique neglectas that look
similar in many ways to I. kashmiriana and think its genes would
increase the probability of tough, reliable bloom.

So, I guess my question for experienced hybridizers in difficult growing
areas is this - do you see a the same frequency of tough growers no
matter what the cross?  Do some tough growers produce mostly wimpy
children and some sickly growers produce mostly tougher children?

In my limited experience, some crosses have produced ALL tough
children.  Most have produced FEW tough children, even tho by
definition, anything that's able to mature pollen and pod here is

I use the words 'tough' and 'sickly' instead of 'vigorous' and 'weak'
because I sometimes see the latter used to mean rapid growth under
relatively good growing conditions, and that's not what I'm interested

Maybe this is a better question to ask during the winter when more
hybridizers in difficult parts of the world are trapped indoors, but
maybe the heat and humidity or snow (!) has driven a few indoors <g>

Linda Mann east Tennessee USA zone 7/8


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