H: Saturday, June 18, 2011

'Frank Abbott' is a Diploid

Rhododendron 'Frank Abbott', which is a Ed Mezitt hybrid documented as Rhododendron molle hybrid x Rhododendron prinophyllum, has been determined to be a diploid using flow cytometry by

Dr. João Loureiro, Dr. Silvia Castro, José Cerca Oliveira, and Mariana Castro
Plant Ecology and Evolution Group,
Centre for Functional Ecology,
Department of Life Sciences,
Faculty of Science and Technology,
University of Coimbra, Portugal.

Frank Abbott started crossing Rhododendron prinophyllum and Rhododendron molle in the 1930's giving the best results of this cross the name Rhododendron 'Jane Abbott' after his daughter. When Ed Mezitt redid the cross thirty years later, Ed named one of his best results from the cross Rhododendron 'Frank Abbott'.

Rhododendron 'Frank Abbott' is rarely seed or pollen fertile. This lack of fertility may indicate that Rhododendron molle is not closely related to Rhododendron prinophyllum. Dr. Benjamin Hall's DNA has placed Rhododendron molle and Rhododendron prinophyllum in different clades and he suggests that Rhododendron molle DNA is closer to the tetraploid clade of deciduous azaleas than the diploid clade of deciduous azaleas.

Read Frank Abbott's Village of Azaleas"

Summary of Ploidy Levels

Diploid Rhododendron molle,
Diploid Rhododendron prinophyllum,
Diploid 'Frank Abbott',
Diploid "Jane Abbott" types

Source: John and Sally Perkins

John and Sally Perkins
Copyrighted material of Rosebay Blog