"Several universities and laboratories in the U.S. have been working on developing triploid or sterile burning bush for years," says Cheng. "Endosperm cells of angiosperms are naturally triploid but regeneration from endosperm cells, particularly from endosperms of woody species, is often very difficult. Dr. Li's success represents a major breakthrough in developing sterile non-invasive Euonymus alatus, which is of great importance to the American ornamental horticulture industry and gardeners."
Burning bush's invasive characteristics stem from its prodigious seed production. The plant produces tens of thousands of seeds that are transported by rainwater and birds where they take hold in open woodlands creating dense thickets that displace native vegetation. The plant's root system forms a tight mat below the soil surface and its broad profile (it averages 6 to 9 feet in height and is capable of reaching 15 feet) creates heavy shade that threatens the survival of plants living beneath it.
Native to eastern Asia, the deciduous Euonymous alatus was introduced in the United States around 1860. The shrub's natural ornamental features have been genetically improved over time giving rise to its widespread popularity. It can be found in the eastern United States from New England to Florida and as far west as Illinois.
The new lines of sterile non-invasive burning bush plant which were derived from a popular dwarf variety known as (E. alatus) 'Compactus' - took years to develop. Members of Li's research team, Chandra Thammina, Mingyang He, Litang Lu, and others, painstakingly removed thousands of immature and mature endosperm from deep inside the plant's seeds under sterile conditions and then treated them with special plant growth regulators. The team carefully maintained endosperm tissue explants in Petri dishes so that a callus, bud, seedling and ultimately a new triploid seedless variety we
|Contact: Colin Poitras|
University of Connecticut