Author Topic: Edible/Ornamental Tradescantia Breeding  (Read 152 times)

Johann Kuntz

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Edible/Ornamental Tradescantia Breeding
« on: 2021-03-25, 06:13:26 PM »
I have interest in growing edible Tradescantia based on lots of positive descriptions of a few North American native species within this genus.  Undecided which species to try growing I ended up planting seeds from Tradescantia x andersoniana which is a hybrid swarm (conveniently) derived from crosses between the various edible species, but having been developed for the ornamental trade.  My seven surviving seedlings predictably show quite a bit of variation in leaf width, upright/lax, hairiness on edges, vigor, etc.  Presumably once they bloom there will be even more observable variation. 

The surprise though was that one seedling is sporting nearly purple leaves and not just because of cold stress as it had already begun coloring up during the growing season last year.  A couple other seedlings have slight amounts of purple pigment along the leaf edges, but this one is uniform in color throughout the leaves with only the oldest leaves fading and moving only partially towards green. 

I tried hunting for info online, but I have not been able to find any info about the existance of purple leaf T. x andersoniana hybrids.  I seem to have just gotten very lucky to have ended up with this mutant.  There's a chance it could become the beginning of a new breeding pool for even more ornamental selections, but I'd like to select for great eating quality too.  So far the upright habit of the leaves is very good as far as keeping them off the dirt, but selecting for a wider leaf form might be good in terms of having a bulkier veggie to harvest (though that may not be necessary based on how vigorous this seedling appears to be).

S.Simonsen

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Re: Edible/Ornamental Tradescantia Breeding
« Reply #1 on: 2021-03-25, 06:17:32 PM »
Good to hear someone working on this kind of project. From phytochemical studies there don't seem be toxins lurking in the family, though they can cause allergic contact dermatitis in pets so something similar might happen in humans under the right conditions.

Johann Kuntz

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Re: Edible/Ornamental Tradescantia Breeding
« Reply #2 on: 2021-03-25, 06:19:45 PM »
Image of seedling group

Johann Kuntz

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Re: Edible/Ornamental Tradescantia Breeding
« Reply #3 on: 2021-03-25, 06:22:01 PM »
Up close.  It's cool that it's one of the most vigorous seedlings in the group.