With a little help from my friends: hybrid fertility of exotic Populus x canadensis enhanced by related native Populus nigra

Abstract

Hybridization and genetic swamping by planted exotic Populus taxa are putative threats for native Populus resources. We investigated the potential for hybridization between the exotic hybrid Populus x canadensis Moench and its wild relative, the European black poplar (Populus nigra L.), by a series of pollination experiments in the greenhouse. We also tested the effect of mixtures of pollen from the taxon’s own pollen and pollen of the foreign taxon on mating success in reciprocal crosses. We observed reduced pollen and seed viability of the hybrid clones of P. x canadensis compared to the clones of the parental species P. nigra. Surprisingly, when in combination with pollen of its wild relative P. nigra, pollen of exotic P. x canadensis sired significantly better on its own flowers. In poplar breeding, the pollen mentor technique which uses pollen mixes of artificially inactivated conspecific pollen and untreated incompatible foreign pollen, has been successfully used to overcome incompatibility barriers. The results of this study suggest that in the wild, where mixed pollen loads are common, similar effects as the pollen mentor effects may enhance the invasiveness of exotic P. x canadensis. This study helps to explain former field observations and contributes to the understanding of potential environmental impacts of commercial exotic and transgene poplar plantations.

DOI: 10.1007/s10530-012-0180-6

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@article{VandenBroeck2012WithAL, title={With a little help from my friends: hybrid fertility of exotic Populus x canadensis enhanced by related native Populus nigra}, author={An Vanden-Broeck and Karen S Cox and Boudewijn Michiels and Pieter Verschelde and Marc Villar}, journal={Biological Invasions}, year={2012}, volume={14}, pages={1683-1696} }