... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Gapland Gold - Helianthus hybrid

It's about a month later starting than last year, but still MUCH earlier than the mama (Helianthus tuberosus - Jerusalem Artichoke), which doesn't even have any tiny buds forming in the tips yet. The pollen parent was a 'Red Sun' annual sunflower. I was hoping to get a red-flowered perennial but there were a lot of yellows in the row of 'Red Sun' so I think I'll try again with some hopefully better annual reds. This earlier flowering (and long-flowering) yellow perennial wasn't such a bad result though.


  1. Any notion if the hybrid tuberizes? also, I wouldn't be surprised if the red color reappears in the F2s.

  2. It forms tubers but not as big as tuberosus does. And the flavor is a little too strong for my taste buds (at least raw that is). But it might make a decent food for livestock???
    I'd love for the red to return in an F2 but I haven't been able to find a single open-pollinated seed on it yet. There are always a few here and there on tuberosus but this one seems to be even more infertile, so I'm gonna try to make more F1s as an alternative.

  3. I've been thinking of crossing the H. tuberosus and H. annus "Russian Mammoth" I have currently growing. It would be cool to get some of the giant growth characteristics into the perennial/tuberizing background, though fertility difficulties with the F1s do make this a more challenging task.

  4. Hi Darren,
    I'll be trying something similar this year if I can get bloom overlap. The giant sunflowers my friends son sent us are about 8 feet tall right now and forming flower heads but the Jerusalem Artichokes aren't even thinking about flowering. I might have to see if helianthus pollen will tolerate cold storage.
    Oh and I'm betting you'll enjoy this link. It was my inspiration to do these kind of crosses in the first place.


    I hope I typed it correctly because I couldn't get my phone to paste it here.

  5. Sorry Darren, I missed a piece, but here's that URL in full:


    Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

  6. Nice. I found a figure relating to the chromosome numbers involved in Helianthus breeding projects.

    I'm hosting a copy on my flicker: http://www.flickr.com/photos/darrenabbey/9452394465/

  7. Pretty cool! Thanks!
    Was there a journal article or similar that went with that figure?

  8. I found it on wikipedia : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_sunflower
    ... but the links seem to bring me to : http://a-c-s.confex.com/crops/2006am/techprogram/P25848.HTM
    ... which doesn't really say anything more.

    There is a link to a poster/handout from 2006, which has a listing of relevant literature from 1936 to 1993, but I am not able to find a journal article related to the research in particular.

  9. I found an article (from 1911) discussing the dominance of the red trait in diploid sunflower hybrids.


    as H. tuberosus is hexaploid, the hybrid would only have one copy of the red allele and may not be visible.

  10. Sorry I missed your comment Darren. And thanks for the link!!!
    It seems that there would be a good chance that the hybrid wouldn't be red but maybe it would at least have the "corona" effect of red brushed petals. I'd be completely happy with even that much red on them. :0)

  11. Don't worry about not catching the comments immediately. The project can take years, so why not the conversation?

    The "corona" effect would probably be more dilute in the cross between H. annuus and H. tuberosus, because the hybrid would only have one red allele paired with three non-red alleles. It should still be visible, but not as obvious as in the diploid crosses discussed in the paper.