Specific benefits of using wild females?

So, females contribute more than males, right? The various elements of the cytoplasm. So are there any particular benefits (or drawbacks, for that matter - aside from the small seed size of the initial cross) of using females of specific species? For example, some tomato crosses use pimps, that seems fairly common. Is it know if there are pros and cons of which way the cross is done? I’m interested in this with all tomato species, although obviously the easiest crosses are with SC (self compatible) females. I wonder for example about any female-specific disease resistant traits, hardiness, or vigour, for example.

I don’t know what SC females are and I’m not all that interested in tomatoes.

However, from what I’ve seen crosses with pimps as the mother tend to have small fruits, bigger than normal pimps but still not halfway between like one might hope for. But that is from rather limited personal observation, may not hold true at all if seriously examined.

On the cytoplasm issue I think you might be on to something. I also seem to remember Carol Deppe mentioning that when she makes crosse in corn she likes to use the wilder parent as the mother. I like to do that too, as there is no telling what you might miss out on otherwise. Actually, with corn I like to make the initial cross in both directions and cross the two F1s again the next year but with the maternal line following the wilder or the one with the preferred traits I’m after.

For example, with my Reed’s Ohio Valley Flint corn I wanted the natural worm resistance of a Mexican variety called Zapalote Chico. Initial crosses were several years ago but all of it follows the Zapalote Chico maternal line. ZC is anything but a flint corn and after multiple backcrosses, there is little left of it now except the worm resistance. NOTE - I do not know as a fact that following the maternal line resulted in better transmission and retention of the worm resistance but I’m pretty sure it didn’t hurt.

Currently, I’m most hopeful of crossing some wild onions to common onions and would prefer to have the wild ones as the mothers. Not a lot of luck with this so far, but I keep trying.

I think this is a big and important topic, that I wish I knew more about, but want I wrote already is about the limit of my knowledge on it.

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Ok I just edited it so it explains it - self compatible. I figured people who would know about this issue would know but now it’s clear :slight_smile:

That’s comparing female pimp crossed with male… presumably lysopersiccum, with pimps and lycs; rather than with pimp X lyc with lyc as female, which is the critical comparison for this topic.

Yeah I was thinking it might give some advantage, but so long as we are in a place of ignorance, what we are missing could be just as or even more important from one side of the cross or the other, so, we can’t assume which would be the more important, without specific knowledge/experience. I mean, this might even depend on the specific accession, not just the species. But hopefully someone has at least some species-specific knowledge here.

And yes making crosses both ways and then comparing, is best, but hopefully someone else has done it, because in some cases it doubles the work, and in some cases it makes the work way way harder than merely double. Possibly for this reason the vast majority of people have therefore only done it in the easy direction, but this is why I’m also interested in the specifics of whether the harder directions might be worth attempting, putting the effort into.

I look forward to hearing about your ongoing onion project, sounds interesting.

Actually, I may have had some success. Unfortunately, the only way to photograph the differences would to be by cutting one of each type and putting them together on a consistent background, so I’ll just describe it.

The wild species, I’m fairly positive is allium canadense although mine does not look exactly like these, mine has light purple rather than white flowers. I found it several years ago growing in a creek bed and brought both seeds and bulbils home and have been growing it from both since then. The bulbils that I found and 95% of all I’ve seen are very spherical and light green to grey.

Last year I found some that were more pointed. I planted those and this spring noticed those plants have slightly different color, a bit of blue cast. Bulbils have formed and flowering is about done this year and the 95% are just the spherical round ones with flower stems protruding from between them, all as usual. The bluish ones have grown leaves out the top of each pointed bulbil and unfortunately are not flowering at all.

Bummer, what I think might be a cross with the wild ones as mother are not blooming. Those in the wiki picture are interesting in that they seem to have the pointed bulbils but also flowers. I’m not at all sure I know what I’m talking about, perhaps it’s just variation in the species. Still, I will endeavor to persevere.

I’m not sure of the benefits but I follow Carol Deppe’s advice and try to at least include a wild mother. For example, I’ve crossed tomato with Solanum habrochaites. That only works with a tomato mother. However, I can use the crossed offspring to cross back into the wild plant. I did that just the other day in fact and it looks like I have two successful crosses with S. habro as mother. I won’t know for sure of course until I have seed inside a ripe fruit. This particular wild relative imparts some unpleasant flavours, or so I’ve heard, and it may be that having wild cytoplasm will turn out to be a barrier to good flavour.

Reminds me of a line spoken by Chief Dan George in the film The Outlaw Josey Wales. Great film.


Your onions sound interesting? It’s rather a different topic, but, out of interest, what benefits have you seen in them relative to regular domestic onions, for example in terms of yield, disease/pest resistance, storage, or any other useful traits as vegetables?

Have you done it in the past with success? Or know anyone who has? I would be interested. And of course interested to follow your journey with that if your current cross give viable seed and fertile offspring!

What could be quite useful would be if you could use that plant to make multiple crosses in both directions with a single hab. plant. If it is not a stable variety, and/or if the hab. you’re crossing it with is self incompatible, then each cross with have significantly different genetics. But for example if you were able to make 5~10 crosses in both directions, you could then grow out two separate populations, and over preferably 2 generations, without selecting, just letting nature take its course in that regard, you would have the opportunity to see if there is any statistically significant difference between the one and the other direction of cross. However if you only do 1 cross in each direction, I think we could not really make any valid conclusion from the data. Oh… though thinking about it, if you have enough seeds from each cross, if actually the F1 from that cross should already have a lot of genetic variation, so effectively each seed should represent a different cross. So, that might actually be enough! So long as you do it in both directions, with the same 2 individual plants, and grow enough of the seeds out of each direction of cross to have a big enough sample size for analysis.

You mean hab. in general? Did you not taste the cross you are currently growing? Or, was it one that only has a little hab in it that has been bred over generations, such as Joseph’s?

Also I wonder, some of the tomatoes that are said to be 25% hab., 25% pennellii, and 50% lycopersicum, but bred as a landrace over many generations to taste nice - I think they might actually have significantly lower percentages of wild in them. I don’t know, so this is just a guess, but I think the selective breeding for good taste may quite possibly be meaning that more and more domestic genes are being selected, reducing the wild percentage, even though technically as a population they historically have 50% wild ancestry.

They are teeny, tiny little things and a pain in the rump to harvest. On the other hand, they have the most wonderful allium flavor I’ve ever tasted. They are super hardy; they spread and propagate easily on their own or by planting, both from bulbils and seeds. Cold and wet, hot and dry, bugs, disease, nothing seems to hurt them.

As far as storage, I like things that are just pretty much left alone and harvested as needed, even in winter because I don’t have much space for storage. This spring however I found some bulbils that had laid in a paper sack all winter and they were still fine. I planted them and they caught up to bloom with those that overwintered, they just aren’t as big.

If I could get them crossed up with something that makes larger bulbs but that keep that ease of growing and that flavor, I’d be really happy.

I don’t know, it might not be a different topic. They are certainly wild and if I can cross them as the maternal side, I might have a better chance of keeping those desired traits. Identifying cytoplasmic traits for sure, is certainly beyond my ability but still, worth a shot, I think.

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Do you mean the backcross? I used S. habro as pollen donor last season for the first time and got four crosses from four different tomato mothers. The backcross I’ve just done is the first. I only have one of the F1s still going (it’s winter here) so I’ll have to wait until next season to do any more backcrosses.

My plan is simply to create a number of crosses with S. habro as mother to grow alongside the crosses I’ve done with tomato mothers. S. habro is self-infertile but that’s not a trait I care about. As long as the offspring have flowers that are attractive to pollinators and are amenable to cross pollination by the visiting insects then that will do me in that regard. What I do care about is reliable production of tasty fruits. I have limited time and energy to spend on this so apart from this initial hand crossing they will simply be left to their own devices.

The hab and the crosses I made with it last season (50% hab) were all unpleasant to eat. Quite bitter. By the end of next season I hope to have:
Some 50% and 25% habro with tomato cytoplasm and
Some 75% and 37.5% habro with habro cytoplasm
From then on, they’re on their own.

They sound cool. I hope you can cross them! Did you make any post sharing photos of them? I’d be interested to see!

Oh I meant, this is the tomato category :slight_smile: I guess I could have added ‘tomato’ to the topic heading too. But anyway, I’m really glad to hear about your project!

Yes, hab X lyc. crossed to hab female (by the way, is there a convention of how to write, like it is [male] X [female] or vice versa? Anyway I mean [hab (male) X lyc (female)] (male) X hab (female)

Good luck with your crosses!

Ah I see. So, this will not help us in answering whether there is any benefit of using female vs. male until there are multiple comparable crosses in both directions. But still sounds like nice work.

I think maybe some accessions from the edge of its range are SC. But yes most are SI. I hope your project goes well!

@Justin The convention when writing crosses is female x male so last season I did the following

Solanum lycopersicon cv. Pink Berkeley Tie-dye x S. habrochaites and just the other day I did the cross

Solanum habrochaites x [S. lycopersicon cv. Pink Berkeley Tie-dye x S. habrochaites]

Gets a bit much at times.

Cool thanks, I’ll try to remember that and follow it from now on!

Did you select a specific hab. accession to suit your environment? I’m experimenting with a relatively early flowering one.

No access to anything like a range of accessions here in Australia. A friend happened to have collected some on an overseas trip many years ago and grew them out periodically to keep the seed viable.

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Ha ha ha! I suspect this is why Joseph Lofthouse doesn’t tend to keep records! :wink:

Keeping track of the information can be super useful if you have the mental space to devote to it. I tend to keep detailed records of everything, too.

On the choice of female parent in a cross, don’t forget that most plants inherit the bulk of the endosymbiotic microorganisms from the female in the cross. The chloroplasts and mitochondria fall on the edge of this pattern as well, since they were originally symbiotic bacteria themselves long ago.

Yeah. I was actually wondering if that might pose a disadvantage, if those things are more adapted to, for example, different light conditions. I have crossed with pimpinellifolium in both directions, and I have a feeling they should do well here. I have also attempted both directions with some Galapapos accessions, and I am wondering that the light conditions are so different there that that might not be favourable, but I will see I guess! I was hoping that someone might have some info on this, but it seems not. It would be cool if there were some known female benefits of specific tomato species.