New Zealand Journal of Ecology (2000) 24(1): 81- 85

Recovery of a sexual and an apomictic hybrid from crosses between the facultative apomicts Hieracium caespitosum and H. praealtum

Research Article
Hazel Chapman 1
Ross Bicknell 2
  1. Department of Plant and Microbial Sciences, University of Canterbury, Box 4800, Christchurch 1, New Zealand
  2. New Zealand Institute for Crop and Food Research Ltd, Private Bag 4704, Christchurch, New Zealand

Hybridisation is a rare event in facultatively apomictic species. We report the recovery of two hybrids from reciprocal crosses between the facultatively apomictic species Hieracium praealtum and H. caespitosum. Both parents were tetraploid (2n=4x=36). H. caespitosum x H. praealtum (CR6) was a hexaploid (2n=6x=54) and an apomict. The increased ploidy number is evidence of a BIII hybrid origin, having arisen from the fusion of a reduced and an unreduced gamete. In contrast, the hybrid recovered from the reciprocal cross H. praealtum x H. caespitosum (RC4) was a tetraploid and therefore probably arose as a BII hybrid fi-em the fusion of two reduced gametes. Further evidence for this is the expression of sexuality in this plant. As apomixis in Hieracium is thought to be determined by a single dominant locus, a sexual plant is consistent with a model of inheritance where this represents the putative homozygous recessive phenotype. The formation of a sexual plant from the hybridisation of apomicts has potentially significant evolutionary implications. The formation of an interspecific BIII hybrid has not previously been recorded.