Biological Invasions (2011) 13, 739-746

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Theresa M. Culley, Nicole A. Hardiman and Jennifer Hawks (2011)
The role of horticulture in plant invasions: how grafting in cultivars of Callery pear (Pyrus calleryana) can facilitate spread into natural areas
Biological Invasions 13 (3), 739-746
Abstract: Although few plant species escape from cultivation, some horticultural practices used with woody ornamentals may enhance their invasion potential into natural areas. One such procedure is grafting, in which individuals are propagated for commercial sale by joining a clone of a desired cultivar (the scion) with rootstock obtained from a different individual. If the rootstock can sprout and flower, it can potentially cross-pollinate the scion, leading to fruit production in a self-incompatible species. The effect of grafting on invasion success was examined in the Callery pear, Pyrus calleryana, one of the most popular landscaping trees in the United States. Using nine microsatellite markers, scion and rootstock were genotyped for 57 cultivated trees to characterize rootstock genotypes and the rootstock gene pool. Invasive populations were then sampled to determine if rootstock genotypes have contributed to their formation. In no case were scion and rootstock genotypes identical for any given cultivated tree and rootstock genotypes were genetically variable, although some cloned rootstock genotypes were detected. Rootstock genotypes were also observed in invasive populations, with up to 17% of wild individuals having at least one rootstock parent. These results indicate that rootstock can contribute to the formation of invasive populations of the Callery pear through cross-pollination with other available genotypes. Future investigations of woody ornamentals propagated by grafting should consider this horticultural practice as a potential contributor to invasiveness. Furthermore, plant breeders are encouraged to assess the ability of rootstock to sprout as well as its cross-compatibility with the scion or other cultivar genotypes growing nearby.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Theresa M. Culley

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.


Pyrus calleryana (weed)