Self-incompatibility in the Chilean endemic genus Leucocoryne lindley

L. Mansur, M. Gonzalez, I. Rojas, P. Salas

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The Chilean genus Leucocoryne has exceptional qualities as an ornamental plant that is being developed through breeding. Little is known about the origin of its genetic variation for flower phenotype. Our hypothesis is that, despite having a perfect flower, Leucocoryne has an outbreeding behavior due to self-incompatibility. Greenhouse studies were conducted to study self-incompatibility. In 2000, one species L. purpurea Gay. and two distinct populations Leucocoryne sp. Pichicuy and Leucocoryne sp. Chigualoco were used, whereas in 2001, L. coquimbensis F. Phil. and Leucocoryne sp. Alcones and Leucocoryne sp. Talinay were added. Field studies were carried out in 2001 at La Campana (lat. 29°S, Valparaíso Region, Chile) and Bosque de Fray Jorge (lat. 33°S, Coquimbo Region, Chile) National Parks with L. ixioides Lindley and L. purpurea, respectively. The index of self-genetic incompatibility (ISI) was measured as the average number of seeds per fruit produced by self-pollination divided by the average number of seeds per fruit produced from cross-pollination. The average ISI values for 2000 and 2001 were 0.08 and 0.06, respectively, meaning that Leucocoryne is largely self-incompatible. In the field seed set was compared between flowers that were isolated from insects and those that were not. None of the isolated flowers produced seeds, instead nonisolated flowers produced an average of 29 seeds per fruit at La Campana and 56 at Bosque de Fray Jorge. Leucocoryne's self-incompatibility and outcrossing behavior plus its capacity to fix any genotype via asexual reproduction, most likely contribute to its large variation for flower color, shape, size, design, and aroma. Due to Leucocoryne's reproductive behavior it would be difficult to breed for homozygous inbreds and pure hybrid cultivars.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)836-838
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Society for Horticultural Science
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Huilli
  • Inbreeding
  • Reproduction
  • Selfing


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