Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Reproductive biology and intergeneric breeding compatibility of ornamental Portulaca and Calandrinia (Portulacaceae)

Priyanka Wickramasinghe A , Dion K. Harrison A and Margaret E. Johnston A B
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A The University of Queensland, School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences, Centre for Native Floriculture, Gatton, Qld 4343, Australia.

B Corresponding author. Email:

Australian Journal of Botany 57(8) 697-707
Submitted: 17 June 2009  Accepted: 30 November 2009   Published: 8 February 2010


Portulaca grandiflora Hook and P. umbraticola Kunth (Portulacaceae) are popular garden annuals, and have been bred for improved ornamental value. However, limited research has been published on hybridisation of Portulaca, with no reports on intergeneric hybridisation. Calandrinia balonensis Lindley and Calandrinia sp. nov. (not yet fully classified) are floriferous Australian Portulacaceae species, with potential as novel flowering pot plants, and are potential candidates for breeding with ornamental Portulaca. We studied the reproductive biology of these four species and breeding compatibility for reciprocal crosses of P. grandiflora × C. balonensis (2n = 18) and P. umbraticola × C. sp. nov. (2n = 24). All four species produced seeds for intraspecific outcrosses. P. grandiflora and C. sp. nov. are partially self-compatible whereas P. umbraticola and C. balonensis are highly self-incompatible. Autogamy was detected only for P. grandiflora. Reciprocal crosses of P. grandiflora × C. balonensis and P. umbraticola × C. sp. nov. with similar chromosome numbers did not produce seeds, primarily because of pollen–pistil incompatibility that prevents pollen-tube growth within the stigmata. Methods to overcome hybridisation barriers of these species combinations need to be established to create novel products for ornamental horticulture.


We thank The University of Queensland and the Department of Employment, Economic Development and Innovation (Queensland State Government) for financial support for this research. Funding for the PhD scholarships (University of Queensland International Research Award 2006 and University of Queensland International Living Allowance Scholarship 2006) to Priyanka Wickramasinghe was provided by the University of Queensland. We also acknowledge Dr Kok Lee, Mr Bradley Pearce, Ms Bridgitte Pruess and for their assistance at UQ Gatton and Mr Allan Lisle for statistical advice.


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