We are currently observing another impressive result of hybrid vigor in our Jatropha Breeding Program: a six months old hybrid exhibits the first fruit cluster with exactly 50 healthy fruits. The seedling germinated on March 17 (my birthday :-)) and has reached a height of more than 2.5 meters by now. Manual pollination has been conducted 10 days ago.
Among other this hybrid also shows a distinctively superior tolerance to drought stress than both parents. As usual drought tolerance goes together with relative (horizontal) pest resistance.
2 sister plants of the identical hybrid which had germinated in the same week are showing similar impressive fruit counts for their first clusters: 35 and 42 respectively.
Update: the same fruit bunch 10 days later…
Update 2: On November 23 we harvested the first fruits from this bunch. Obviously, we were very curious to find out about a possible heterosis effect on seed size and weight. Well, what can I say? It’s another breakthrough really that would deserve its own separate article on this site:
We weighed 15 freshly harvested seeds at a total of 18 grams. This converts into a 100-seed weight of 120g. That’s a new record in our breeding program.
As a matter of completion, the 100-seed weights of the parents:
- female parent (top left): 90g
- male parent (top right): 45g.
It will be interesting what we are going to see in the next generations of hybrid crosses. The plant has already been crossed with most of our high quality accessions and also back crossing with both parents has begun. We will definitely report again in the future.