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‹‹‹ Contents page for this issue     |     Summer 2009

Hokie daylily a winner

By Deborah P. Morehead, Institute for Advanced Learning and Research

Researchers at the Institute for Sustainable and Renewable Resources (ISRR), located at the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR) in Danville, have developed a triploid daylily that took a blue ribbon at the Richmond Daylily Show and a yellow ribbon at the Tidewater Daylily Show in its first two showings last summer (2008).

The winning daylily, known simply as #33, is one of about 50 varieties ISRR has developed as part of a comprehensive partnership with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association’s Beautiful Gardens program, of which Virginia Tech is a key collaborator. Bred to exhibit prolonged blooming and more vigorous growth, the triploid lily, according to ISRR researcher Zhiwu Li, “will be much more valuable than the popular existing cultivars in the floriculture market because of its rarity and its unique phenotype.”

The winning daylily, known simply as #33, is one of about 50 varieties ISRR has developed as part of a comprehensive partnership with the Virginia Nursery and Landscape Association’s Beautiful Gardens program, of which Virginia Tech is a key collaborator.

There are two primary types of daylilies — diploids and tetraploids. These novel triploid daylily varieties are good candidates for commercial propagation and sale and are also ideal for genetic engineering. Triploids don’t produce healthy pollen and therefore cannot contribute to transgene flow, which solves the concern that unwanted genes could be inadvertently transferred to other plants.

Li and his cohorts at ISRR and at Virginia Tech have some 20 daylily varieties currently in the garden for evaluation. According to Barry Flinn, director of ISRR, the triploid is expected to go commercial in the very near future. “Working with the IALR Foundation, we hope to have our commercial tissue culture propagation company up and running before the fall,” he says. “One of the first plants that will go into production will be #33, with additional daylilies and other plants to follow.”

 

Photos provided by IALR.