Author Topic: Diploid Ipomoea Breeding  (Read 332 times)

S.Simonsen

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Diploid Ipomoea Breeding
« on: 2018-10-25, 10:06:04 PM »
Ipomoea batatas is a remarkable crop but under my conditions (heavy soil, periodic droughts without irrigation) it is prone to pests and vermin and unreliable for giving useable crops. This form is a tetraploid that emerged somewhere in central or South America and spread around the world long ago, leading to inevitable bottle necks, though reasonable diversity exists.
The genus itself is highly diverse and composed mostly of diploids. Several of these species are edible to varying degrees, including several Australia native species (I. costata, abrupta, polpha) that grow in our semi-arid regions and were used as staple foraging crops by aborigines. Other species include I. cairica, pandurata, lacunosa, and other more obscure species around the world.
I am currently growing I. costata and abrupta to maturity for hybridisation with I. cairica that grows wild on my subtropical farm and makes excellent goat forage. My aim is to hybridise these species and I. lacunosa which occurs locally to develop a silvopasture compatible species that produces edible tubers. Any collaborators with access to other edible wild Ipomoea species would be most welcome as hybridisation compatibility is likely to be highly species dependent. Work to induce polyploidy in the wild diploid species is also a possible focus.

Gilbert Fritz

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Re: Diploid Ipomoea Breeding
« Reply #1 on: 2018-10-27, 05:14:31 PM »
I'm interested in this. I grew two American native tuberous Ipomoea this year, I. lacunosa and I. leptophylla. Only the former grew well, but I didn't see any tubers on the roots. I've been trying in vain to find seeds for I. costata in the USA. Another American species that has a large (somewhat) edible tuber is I. pandurata. There is much confusion as to the actual edibility and palatability of all the American species.

Watching bindweed strangle my gardens, I've always had dreams of an edible version!

S.Simonsen

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Re: Diploid Ipomoea Breeding
« Reply #2 on: 2018-10-27, 07:02:12 PM »
Sounds like we could work together on this. I can track down some I. costata here to send you. Any of the species you mentioned would be of interest to me in return. PM me if you want to follow this up.

reed

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Re: Diploid Ipomoea Breeding
« Reply #3 on: 2018-10-28, 02:48:24 AM »
I found some interesting info on i  pandurata, http://www.nomadseed.com/2017/12/mecha-meck-the-wild-sweet-potato-vine-ipomoea-pandurata/. It says, among other things that only the young roots are really good to eat.


I haven't grown it yet but know of several wild specimens and have collected plenty of seeds. I'm very interested in trying to cross it to i batatas but it's hard having to make the long walk or drives to the wild plants to collect pollen. I'll get some plants started next year but the link above says it takes a few years to start flowering.


I'm not much interested in working with other species and I don't like to send seeds outside the US but if someone in the US wants some to  forward on in trades send me a private message.

S.Simonsen

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Re: Diploid Ipomoea Breeding
« Reply #4 on: 2019-02-10, 08:30:52 PM »
Another possibly off topic post but I wondered if you guys would find this interesting. I am a bit fringe even for this community but the following stuff showed some interesting patterns and concepts. In our area with heavy cracking clay the soil is really not suitable for sweet potato, especially since I don't irrigate. When the soil cracks it exposes the tubers, making sweet potato weevil inevitable. So I was interested to explore what other possibilities may lay in the genus Ipomoea. Sweet potato (I. batatas) is a polyploid derived probably from I. macrorhiza, that itself seems to have been cultivated long before the bigger polyploid emerged. Ipomoea is a big genus with several other edible or semi-edible species. So far I have tracked down material of our native species, I. costata from semiarid inland areas and I. abrupta from more tropical coastal places. I also have some smaller seedlings of I. pandurata and leptophylla started, and I. cairica grows wild in my paddocks. The ideal plan is to use the locally adapted cairica as my central breeding partner and attempt interspecies crosses with all the other edible diploid species I can find. I am probably another year or two from getting the other species to maturity so I can commence trial crosses. Another big factor against sweet potato is its susceptibility to flea beetle. During difficult summer seasons like we just had the vines are pretty much defoliated and walking past them leaves you covered in the nibbling blighters. The infestation started on my batatas but gradually spread to the other species, giving me an idea of their varying levels of resistance to this pest. Only leptophylla seems to have been defoliated (the tubers should come back later), while the others have showed considerable resistance, especially the Australian natives. Watching this shift of the beetle explosion from the preferred batatas to the other species once their leaves were mostly gone reminded me of an important concept outlined by Raoul Robinson in his book Return to Resistance. The idea is called parasite competition and outlines how the resistance potential of a particular plant can be overwhelmed by pest or disease pressure coming from susceptible neighbours. In this case the flea beetle resistance of the native Ipomoea is probably higher than it appears since the beetle population doing the damage built up its numbers on the susceptible batatas before being forced to move next door. If the beetles were forced to try and breed on the native species they would have a much harder time and never reach plague proportions. This way the true resistance potential of a field full of native Ipomoea is not revealed under this circumstance. Hope you found this interesting and let me know if I might have missed any other edible Ipomoea species around the world. There are so many I probably haven't found them all yet. Viable seed of macrorhiza would be a great find as well.