Taming the wild Sturt's desert pea

Gregory Kirby

    Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

    Abstract

    Sturt's desert peas are sprawling legumes from the semiarid zone of Australia with large and glossy flowers. Although first collected by Europeans in 1699, they did not enter cultivation until the mid-1800s. Growers found them very difficult to grow ("capricious") and grafting was the only way to control their susceptibility to root rot. There was no large scale exploitation when I became interested in breeding this species in 1988/9. Over 25 years, the Flinders University breeding programme has selected strongly for resistance to root rots, bred plants intended for different markets (cut flowers, pot plants, hanging baskets, cut runners) and collected a range of useful genes. Grafting was studied for several years, but once plants with good root rot resistance that were easily cutting propagated were observed, this research was abandoned. Seed propagated hybrids based on crosses between inbred lines were developed but were not really suitable for commercial production. Better pot plant cultivars are based on the upright multistem phenotype and selection for compact growth, early flowering and cutting propagation. More recently, elite plants have been converted to polyploidy and the first release is a pot plant called 'Flinders Flame'.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages481-486
    Number of pages6
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    EventXXIX INTERNATIONAL HORTICULTURAL CONGRESS ON HORTICULTURE: SUSTAINING LIVES, LIVELIHOODS AND LANDSCAPES -
    Duration: 17 Aug 2014 → …

    Conference

    ConferenceXXIX INTERNATIONAL HORTICULTURAL CONGRESS ON HORTICULTURE: SUSTAINING LIVES, LIVELIHOODS AND LANDSCAPES
    Period17/08/14 → …

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