Daylilies... the white genes

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

So after some untold thousands of seedlings looking for the real deal white DL I am wondering what you all think about DLs and their color. There are two layers to the petals and I am told and read everywhere that the white color cannot be breed fue to this fact. Do you think there would be a way to have a one layer DL flower that then could be breed into a all white flower? The pale yellows, pinks, and greens just do not do it for me.. about to put DLs aside in favor of Iris, and trying to get more garden friendly ironweeds and frostweeds... that is my area of work for now.

Oro Valley, AZ(Zone 9a)

Mitch,
I don't really grow but a couple of DL's myself, however this is interesting. Why? Because in the field of hybridizing irises there is no True (fire engine) RED color gene - thus no true red iris has ever existed.

Irises too have 2 layers to their petals, so many colors are formed by the overlapping in petal colors. In order for a true red color to appear (as our eyes would see it "red") a correct combination of color genes would need to occur, and when overlapped (petal upon petal) it would look "red".

It seems to me - - in your search for a true 'white' to occur in DL's the same thing would need to occur. My first thought is find the palest DL color available out there right now, and cross it with itself to hopefully double up on those pale genes possibly resulting in an even more paler DL. Once the seedlings have bloomed - take the lightest/palest seedling which resulted from that cross and cross THAT ONE with itself. It's a form of inbreeding.

Note that inbreeding can result in other recessive genes coming to the forefront exhibiting new patterns, colors, or form, etc. - that can be most exciting! Also note that inbreeding can bring out deformities that may be disappointing. Either way - - it's worth a try.

~Margie

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Margie - that is what I have/had been trying to do cross the "white" with the "white" to make a real white... I had thought maybe crossing with something in the family tree might give it the genes that it needs? That would take some lab work but I might get there soon to give it a shot. Strange how Iris and DLs are so much alike with the dual petal and "lost" color - to bad we cannot just cross them together for color sake :-)

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Mitch,

Daylily breeders have made amazing progress already. Perhaps a true white in daylilies is as elusive as the "true blue" in zinnias. The original wild zinnias were a violet color and all of the spectrum of current zinnia colors, including a pure white, have emerged as primary or secondary mutations from that original violet color. Plant breeders have crossed and recombined those mutations into an amazing range of new colors. But, without the mutations to start with, not much could have been done.

It seems to me that true white daylilies probably cannot be produced by rearrangements within the current pool of daylily genes. What is needed is some new color genes to include in the mix. There are several ways that could happen. A "wide" cross within the family tree, such as you have mentioned, could be one way. That would involve interspecific or our even intergeneric hybridization. Because orchid breeders raise their plants in test tubes they are able to routinely benefit from interspecific or even intergeneric hybrids.

A spontaneous mutation is another way you could get new color genes. Spontaneous mutations have played a big role in the breeding of roses, daylilies, iris, lilies, zinnias, etc. Induced mutations are another option. There are chemical mutagens, although they dangerous and usually carcinogenic. And, as you know, tissue culture is another source of mutations. Somaclonal variation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Somaclonal_variation

is an annoyance to those who wish to use tissue culture for the mass production of plantlets from an existing cultivar, but it is now being seen as a useful source of mutations.

And tissue culture can be used to enable the successful germination of interspecific and intergeneric crosses that wouldn't grow normally, via the technique of zygotic embryo culture in which embryos that wouldn't grow otherwise are grown by using in vitro culture techniques.

I don't plan to do tissue culture in the near future, but I am considering it as a future option in my zinnia breeding, so I have been accumulating a few books on the subject. Tissue culture kits are now available to hobbyists.

http://www.home.turbonet.com/kitchenculture/Index.htm

MM

Oro Valley, AZ(Zone 9a)

Mitch,
Yes,.......if only it could be that easy! :-)

MM,
Now isn't that interesting! I thought Tissue culture could ONLY be done in a lab. I see an option is available for DL culture kits, but sadly, they do not have one for irises. I may have to e-mail them to see if they can come up with one.

~Margie

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

I am thinking tissue culture, I have hear and seen some stunning results with it in the home lab - and really would love to try it with Daylilies to see if it could get them in time to add the needed pigments.

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

Margie,

"I see an option is available for DL culture kits, but sadly, they do not have one for irises. I may have to e-mail them to see if they can come up with one."

That's a good idea. You might discuss with Dr. Carol Stiff, the proprietor of Kitchen Culture Inc, about what differences, if any, there would be between a Daylily Kit and an Iris Kit. She may be willing to put together a custom kit for your needs, but she will need to know some specifics about how you plan to do your tissue culture, like what part of the iris plant tissue you will start with, whether you will go through a callus phase, what your objectives are, etc. You might need to have several email exchanges to discuss your options and preferences before she comes up with a kit for you.

She may suggest you join the Tissue Culture listserv on Yahoo, where a lot of questions are asked and answered interactively. It's an international group of people interested in or working directly with Tissue Culture.

Actually, I am a little surprised there isn't an Iris Kit already, because quite a few people do breed Irises.

For more information, do a Google Search for iris "tissue culture" and you should get over 40,000 "hits".

MM

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Stiff... will have to give her a call up there and see what can be done - must do it have to do it...

Oro Valley, AZ(Zone 9a)

Hi MM,
An e-mail went out this afternoon to Carol Stiff. I'm just waiting on a reply. Yes, I'll expect this to take several e-mail exchanges before she can come up with a Kit for me. Thank you for posting that link. :-)

~Margie

South Hamilton, MA

There is a white daylily (with a yellow eye) listed on page 11 of the current Roots & Rhizomes catalog. It is 'Joan Senior' and is marked evergreen which would be good for TX, but not for MA. We try and buy the dorment ones.

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Joan Senior - have it and now not white but pale yellow, I also have about 20 more of the "white" ones and none of them are white they are all tinted.

South Hamilton, MA

I guess "white" can be relative like iris "red". Somewhere in the ancestry there must have been a cream. Do you have information on how color works in DL?

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

I sure do - I have several charts I use to help pick color, and I have the charts on each DL with who begat who... it all can come into play. I think that in the wild DLs there is the gene it just was not brought out... and some good cross might bring it out... at least that was my first idea and it did not work.

South Hamilton, MA

Hang in there. It may work yet, the color had to come from somewhere. Does soil make a difference in color? We can easily fade lt. blue iris to white--then regain the blue by moving the plant to a different bed.

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Soil makes a HUGE difference, and feeding, sun, time of year... some of the "whites" right now will be fully pink or green on a bad day. That is why I have raised beds with good soil and play with feeding and shade, just like Iris it cna be fun to get the color right in the wrong soil!

South Hamilton, MA

I was wondering if selfing a "white" DL would give you more information. There are some smaller irises (I don't work with TBs) that I wish to self this yr. Just to find out what is in there. I would love to interview them 'now, darlin' which traits to your carry'? They aren't talking. I would work with TBs for IBs (intermediates) but don't have the space at the moment.

Dowagiac, MI

This is probably the whitest daylily I have ever seen. It is an unregistered seedling that a friend of mine is receiving as a gift. Granted, it does have a yellow eyezone, but still......
blpender

Thumbnail by blpender
Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

That looks white to me. Which proves it is possible.

MM

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Would be interesting to see it besides a yellow, pink, and peach DL. Most of the time if not all of the time the "white " one will be light peach, pink, or yellow... I know it is not much but it is that little color I that I am trying to bleach out.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Micheal Miller next to Palace Garden Beauty.

Thumbnail by Lyle627
Dowagiac, MI

Have a look at this pale seedling. It sprouted pure white, and now has a very pale green tint.
Cross is Victorian Lace X Forsyth Kate Update.
Comments, please.
blpender

Thumbnail by blpender
South Hamilton, MA

Hope that the green tint increases. An albino plant will die. I had 3 plants of 'Frosty Morn' sedum, 2 had albino foliage & died, green one survived.

Dowagiac, MI

I hope so as well. A gal that I work with owns this seedling, and we are both encouraged that there is at least a little green. I'll keep you posted on what happens.
blpender

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

Albino DLs die - I have grown seeds for 5 years now and pray there are no albinos... they never make it.

Dowagiac, MI

I'm not so sure this is a true albino. It does have a little chlorophyl as it has a green tint. We'll just wait and see what happens with it.
blpender

Lindsay, OK(Zone 7a)

It would be stunning to have leaves half and half...

Dowagiac, MI

You know, I did see a "variegated" daylily for sale on ebay. The foliage way yellow and green and the blooms were sort of like a Stella. While that would not be my cup of tea, I guess it means that someone has done it, either intentionally or by accident.
blpender

New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

One way I have found to help albinos or near albinos to grow is by fertilizing them.
When I see a seedling that looks light colored, I mix a spray bottle with 1/4 strength
liquid fertilizer, and water it with that exclusively. If it has a chance it will green up to some degree and start to grow. My experience has been mainly with Plumeria seedlings and hibiscus. I tried this after I saw my varigated hibiscus turn green on its new growth after using Miracle Grow on it. After a few weeks the effects slow down and the varigation returns. I have been using this method on my near albino plumeria seedlings for about two years. On some of them the whole leaf turns green, and on others just the leaf margins.

Thumbnail by Dave67
New Port Richey, FL(Zone 9b)

With this one, only the margins turn green.
Normally, it's margins are pinkish colored...

Thumbnail by Dave67
Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

blpender,

I don't know daylily breeding, so excuse me if this is a dumb question, but what is that yellowish powdery substance on the surface of the seedling sprouting medium in the picture of the Victorian Lace X Forsyth Kate Update seedlings?

MM

Dowagiac, MI

Those are Randy's seedlings. When she plants, she sprinkles play sand on top of the growing medium. Not sure if it works, but she insists it helps prevent damping off.
The white seedling didn't make it, by the way.
blpender

Ottawa, KS(Zone 5b)

blpender,

Thanks for the information. The play sand idea is probably a good one. I use sand occasionally myself. Not surprised about the albino not making it. Occasionally I have a white zinnia seedling, but it never develops much beyond the cotyledon stage.

I think you can bypass photosynthesis by feeding them carbs in the form of a foliar spray of sugar, but I don't think that a cultivar that required sugar feeding would be a good idea, unless you were crossing it with some others to transfer some other desirable genetic trait.

Some gardeners spray a sugar foliar feed to normal plants during a prolonged cloudy spell to compensate for the reduced photosynthesis. Apparently plants can absorb sucrose in a foliar feed. I haven't experimented with dextrose yet. I'm not too keen to foliar feed carbs, because I don't want to create a race of "diabetic zinnias".

However, it might be an interesting experiment to feed an all-white mutant with foliar sugars and other nutrients to see how long you could keep it going.

MM

Dowagiac, MI

Thanks for the suggestions. I'll pass them on to Randy in case she gets another white baby. Diabetic Zinnias, You've just made me laugh until the tears are streaming down my face.
blpender

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