Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Blue breed: Rare hibiscus color is achieved thanks to flower breeding project

Date:
September 7, 2010
Source:
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications
Summary:
Scientists working on a winter-hardy hibiscus breeding project have achieved a rare color for the plant: blue.

Dr. Dariusz Malinowski, Texas AgriLife Research plant physiologist in Vernon, has bred a unique blue shade of hibiscus.
Credit: Texas AgriLife Research photo by Dr. Dariusz Malinowski

Dr. Dariusz Malinowski is seeing blue, and he is very excited.

Related Articles


For four years, Malinowski, an AgriLife Research plant physiologist and forage agronomist in Vernon, has been working with collaborators Steve Brown of the Texas Foundation Seed and Dr. William Pinchak and Shane Martin with AgriLife Research on a winter-hardy hibiscus breeding project.

The project was first a private hobby of the inventors and became a part of the strategic plan of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center at Vernon in 2009. The flower commercialization is a part of the research on non-traditional or under-utilized crops that have value because of drought tolerance.

Malinowski's breeding goal has been to create a blue-flowering winter-hardy hibiscus.

"A blue pigment does not exist in this species, thus hybridizers have not been successful so far in creating a plant with blue flowers," he said. "There are a couple of recently introduced cultivars with plum and lavender flower color."

But now Malinowski has managed to breed a flower with the illusive color.

He and his collaborators have created a number of lines with unique flower and foliage shape and color. The new hibiscus hybrids range in color from white through different shades of pink, lavender, bluish, red and magenta tones, and some of them have combinations of two or even three colors.

One line has dark maroon foliage with moderately big, white flowers that blend into a pink center with darker veins, Malinowski said. Flower size of these hybrids varies from miniature blooms 2 inches in diameter to the size of dinner plates, about 12 inches in diameter.

Malinowski has been using these cultivars in his breeding project for several generations. This year, they finally had one plant bloom with almost blue flowers, a significant breakthrough in efforts to create a blue hibiscus cultivar.

"It took four years of work and more than 1,000 crosses among three winter-hardy hibiscus species to achieve this goal of creating an almost-blue flowering hibiscus hybrid," he said. The new hybrid is not perfect yet, Malinowski said.

"The flowers get a fantastic blue hue in shade, but in full sunlight they are still plum-lavender-bluish," he said.

Brown said it is important to note that in the world of ornamentals, "blue" is interpreted to have a wide range of hues. Most ornamental blues have a more purple or lavender cast.

"There are very few true blue flowers in any ornamental cultivar," he said. "Although I would call this flower 'almost blue' as Dariusz has, there is no question that this development is unique in known hardy hibiscus color ranges.

"My expectation is that we will see more vibrant colors in next year's F1s (cultivars) using this line as a parent," Brown said.

Malinowski said he will use this plant as a parent in his breeding project this summer, with the goal to stabilize the blue color in full sunlight and increase flower size from the current 7 inches to the "magic" 12-inch diameter.

Breeding of ornamental plants is not the major research area of Malinowski, but he said he enjoys new challenges and the benefits of combining his private hobby with business.

"I never thought I would be an expert in breeding winter-hardy hibiscus," he said. "The knowledge I have gained during the past few years of intensive work on hardy hibiscus helps me reach most of the breeding objectives in a relatively short time."

What is next? Malinowski and his collaborators have a new challenge -- to create an orange flowering hardy hibiscus.

This goal seems to be even more difficult, but not impossible, Malinowski said. It will require hybridization with a distantly related hibiscus species, which has shades of orange flowers. The researchers hope that with the help of molecular genetic tools they will be able to meet this objective.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. The original article was written by Kay Ledbetter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Blue breed: Rare hibiscus color is achieved thanks to flower breeding project." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 September 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112512.htm>.
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. (2010, September 7). Blue breed: Rare hibiscus color is achieved thanks to flower breeding project. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112512.htm
Texas A&M AgriLife Communications. "Blue breed: Rare hibiscus color is achieved thanks to flower breeding project." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09/100903112512.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

The Best Protein-Filled Foods to Energize You for the New Year

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) The new year is coming and nothing will energize you more for 2015 than protein-filled foods. Fitness and nutrition expert John Basedow (@JohnBasedow) gives his favorite high protein foods that will help you build muscle, lose fat and have endless energy. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Birds Might Be Better Meteorologists Than Us

Newsy (Dec. 19, 2014) A new study suggests a certain type of bird was able to sense a tornado outbreak that moved through the U.S. a day before it hit. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins