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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Variation and inheritance of some physiological and morphological traits in Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco var. menziesii. Sziklai, Oscar


The objectives of this study were to describe the variability, to evaluate the combining ability, and to calculate the heritability values for certain characteristics of Coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco var. menziesii. Four trees (A, B, E, and 11) were selected on the University of British Columbia Campus. Three of them were selected from the local natural population while the fourth came from an unknown provenance. The investigation of variation included phonological observations on flushing and flowering times, and quantitative descriptions of pollen, seed and cone size. A survey of Campus trees showed that Douglas-fir is extremely variable in the time of flushing and flowering, the size of pollen, seed and cones, and the total number of filled seeds. Times of flushing did not determine times of flowering. There was a strong negative correlation between pollen size and time of flowering. This suggests existence of adaptive significance to adverse climatic condition. Variation in width of the cone was greater than in cone length. Seed germination percentage appeared to be inherited on a single factor basis, and the results from Fl crosses substantiated the suggestion that tree E might possess a homozygous dominant state. Filled seeds have not been obtained from tree B when it was self-pollinated. This supports Orr-Ewing's theory, that self-sterility might be an inbreeding effect caused by the action of lethal genes, when brought together in a homozygous state. Combining ability of the four study trees was tested by a polyallel cross with all sixteen possible combinations. The cross was completed in 1962, using three different pollination methods; dry, wet and dry-wet. Mortality of conelets was lowest in the case of wet pollination. Losses were doubled with dry pollination. Of 302 seed conelets pollinated, 201 were collected and 8,004 seeds were extracted from them. The number of filled seeds per cone was lowest in the cases of self-pollination (1.91) and wind pollination (3.05). Cross pollination on the average surpassed wind pollination by 4.6 times, and the self-pollination by 7.3 times, producing 13.81 filled seeds per cone. In order to minimize and test the variability due to environmental effects, the seedlings were grown under controlled environmental conditions. Two Percival (PGC-78) units were employed, one of them simulated long-day (15 hours illumination) and the other short-day (10 hours illumination) effects for 132 days. Tree 11, which was different in origin from the local provenance trees, showed the best combining ability as a seed parent. Progeny from crosses between trees from the same populations showed smaller values compared to progenies from crosses between trees from different populations. Epicotyls, for example, were 73-78 per cent longer on seedlings from tree 11 compared to seedlings from trees B and E, when pollen from tree A was applied. Obviously, further investigation of intra-specific crosses has practical merit. Heritability values in the narrow sense were calculated for twelve different juvenile seedling characteristics, and the practical application in relation to forest tree improvement was briefly discussed.

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