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Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative Report 8:18-21 (Article 8) 1985

Preliminary Yield Evaluation of Inbred Lines Derived from Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii (Royle) Kitamura 

Staub, Jack

U. S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service and Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706

Recently, usage of Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii (Royle) Kitamura germplasm (hereafter referred to as hardwickii), has increased in cucumber improvement programs because of its potential for increasing fruit yields in the cultivated cucumber, Cucumis sativus var. sativus L. (hereafter referred to as sativus) (3). Although hardwickii has the ability to set a large number of seeded fruits sequentially on each plant, its fruit are ellipsoid, bitter, and have a large seed cell (3). These negative characteristics, along with its susceptibility to most economically important North American cucumber diseases (5) provide a challenge for plant breeders interested in capitalizing on its yield potential.

Morphological differences among hardwickii accessions (7), suggest differences in their potential for transmitting useful traits (4). Hardwickii lines PI 183967 and PI 215529 differ in combining abilities for fruit number, length and diameter; lateral branch number; flowering date; sex expression and plant dry weight (4,9). Lower et al. (6) reported on type of gene action and heterosis for yield and vegetative characteristics in a cross between a sativus line (Gy 14) and an inbred hardwickii line selected from PI 183967 (LJ 90430). Variation in fruit weight per plant, lateral branch number, main stem length and fruit length and diameter can be accounted for by an additivedominance genetic model (2,6).

Flowering characteristics of hardwickii directly affect time of fruit development. Hardwickii accessions differ in photoperiodic response (4,9). Although early flowering is promoted under short days (approximately 9 to 14 hours) in hardwickii PI 183967 (LJ 90430) and LJ 91176, plants of PI 215589 will eventually flower under long days (16 hours)(l). This short day flowering response in PI 215589 appears to be controlled by a single recessive gene and is most likely allelic (1) to the delayed flowering mutant (df) reported by Shiffriss and George (8).

One objective of the USDA cucumber breeding program is to incorporate high fruit setting ability and multiple branching from hardwickii into sativus germplasm. Hardwickii germplasm from PI 183967 and PI 215589, along with several sativus processing cucumber inbreds with relatively diverse genetic backgrounds (segregating plants with high fruiting capacity), were intercrossed to form several populations. One such population originating from hardwickii x sativus matings is non-bitter, gynoecious, multiple- branching, and resistant to 6 diseases. The best of 4 F4 and F5 lines random- mated and subjected to 2 cycles of recurrent selection for fruit number under a 0.9 m between-plant spacing provided the experimental population (WI 5242). Four lines (5095, 5096, 5097 and 5098) were established by self-pollinating selected plants from the cycle 2 population. Previous studies (7) indicated that sativus x hardwickii F1 backcrossed to sativus, when tested under a close spacing (12 cm between plants and 1.5 m between rows), did not produce yields that differed significantly from those of the recurrent parent. This study was initiated to compare fruit yields bf the 4 inbred lines with the sativus inbred WI 1983 and the hybrid 'Calypso' at 3 plant spacings.

WI 1983 and commercial processing hybrid 'Calypso' were evaluated at 3 betweenplant spacings (0.23, 0.46 and 0.92 m) in randomized complete blocks with 6 replications. Supplemental irrigation and standard cultural practices were used, and plots were harvested 5 times starting when 'Calypso' plots had 10% oversize fruit. Rows were 1.5 m apart.

Fruit yields of hardwickii-derived lines were lower (20 to 90%) than 'Calypso' but nearly equal to WI 1983 in harvests 1 and 2 at all spacings. In harvests 3 through 5, fruit yields of the 4 lines were higher (10 to 200%) than both 'Calypso' and WI 1983 (Figure 1). Cumulative yields of WI 5095 and WI 5097 over 5 harvests under the 0.46 and 0.23 m spacings were similar to 'Calypso' and WI 1983. In contrast, cumulative yields of WI 5096 and WI 5098 were higher than 'Calypso' and WI 1983 at the 0.23 (20 and 35%), 0.46 (15 and 30%) and 0.92 (45 and 55%) meter spacings. In this study, fruit yields of 4 hardwickii derivates were competitive with 'Calypso' in late harvests at close spacing. However, since fruit length/diameter (L/D) ratios were short (2.3 to 2.6) and interior quality was not acceptable, F1 hybrids between these hardwickii derivates and standard processing cucumber inbreds need to be evaluated in order to determine whether yielding ability can be maintained along with improvements in L/D ratio and fruit quality.

Figure l. Comparative fruit yielts between four C. hardwickii derived inbreds and a parental C. sativus inbred and the processing cucumber hybrid 'Calypso' under 3 spacings. Fruit yields of harvests 1-5 are given as percent of 'Calypso' and harvest 6 designation represents the cumulative average over 5 harvests.

Literature Cited

  1. Della Vecchia, P. T. and C. E. Peterson. 1984. Inheritance of flowering
    response in cucumber. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 109(6):761-763.
  2. Della Vecchia, P. T. 1982. Inheritance of short-day response to flowering
    and some fruit characteristics in crosses between Cucumis sativus var.
    hardwickii (R) Alef. and Cucumis sativus L. lines. Ph.D. dissertation,
    University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  3. Horst, E. K. 1977. Vegetative and reproductive behavior of Cucumis
    hardwickii and Cucumis sativus as influenced by photoperiod,
    temperature and planting density. M.S. Thesis, North Carolina State
    University, Raleigh.
  4. Kupper, R. S. 1984. Evaluation of Combining Ability between lines of
    Cucumis sativus L. and Cucumis sativus var. hardwickii (R.) alef. M.S.
    Theses, University of Wisconsin, Madison.
  5. Leppik, E. E. 1966. Relative resistance of Cucumis ssp. to disease and
    insects. Plant Intr. Investigation Papers. 4:1-8.
  6. Lower, R. L., J. Nienhuis and C. H. Miller. 1982. Gene action and
    heterosis for yield and vegetative characteristics in a cross between a
    gynoecious pickling cucumber inbred and a Cucumis sativus var.
    hardwickii line. J. Amer. Soc. Hort. Sci. 107:75-78.
  7. Schuman, D. A., J. E. Staub and B. E. Sturckmeyer. 1982. Morphological
    Comparisons between Cucumis sativus and Cucumis hardwickii plants.
    HortSci. 17:108.
  8. Shiffriss, 0. and W. L. George, Jr. 1965. Delayed germination and
    flowering in cucumbers. Nature 206:424-425.
  9. Staub, J. E. and R. S. Kupper. 1985. Results of the use of Cucumis sativus
    var. hardwickii germplasm following backcrossing with Cucumis sativus
    var. sativus. HortScience (In press).
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Page citation: Wehner, T.C., Cucurbit Genetics Cooperative;
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send questions to T.C. Wehner; last revised on 30 November, 2009