Growth and reproductive characteristics in backcross hybrids derived from Trifolium repens L. × T. nigrescens Viv. interspecific crosses

Abstract

Interspecific hybridisation with the close relative, Trifolium nigrescens (Ball clover) is a possible strategy to achieve increased reproductive potential of white clover (Trifolium repens). Fertile F1 plants have been used as the basis for two generations of backcrossing to T. repens as the recurrent parent. F1 and backcrossed plants were assessed in both glasshouse and field for a range of morphological traits, including inflorescence production, and the level of water soluble carbohydrates in the stolons. Plants resulting from two generations of backcrossing had an increased allocation of dry matter to inflorescence production in comparison with T. repens. Variation within these plants for agronomic traits (e.g. stolon length, dry weights etc.) suggests that selection for these traits is feasible and in combination with increased inflorescence production offers a potentially valuable approach to germplasm improvement in white clover.

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