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Hybridization of the California Firs

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Four groups of firs (sections, in the most recent classification of Abies) are represented in California. Crossing within these sections is possible and even easy, and in two of the sections intergrading populations between highly crossable taxa are wide-spread in California. An exception is A. amabilis, a Northwestern fir that has not been crossed with other species in the same section (Grandes: A. concolor, A. grandis) or in other sections (e.g., Nobiles: A magnifica). Crossing species in different sections is usually difficult or impossible. The genetic isolation of A. bracteata, an endemic species classified as a monotypic subgenus or section, may be nearly complete: two probable hybrids with A. concolor died at a few years of age. A few putative hybrids from intersectional crosses between species in Grandes and Nobiles died within months of germination. Intersectional crosses with firs outside California (two Mexican and four Eurasian species) all failed except A. concolor x A. religiosa, which produced numerous healthy hybrids. The common occurrence of genetic barriers in Abies is at odds with the long-held view that it is easy to hybridize fir species. For. Sci. 34(1):139-151.

Keywords: Abies; classification; crossability; interspecific hybrids

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Geneticist at the USDA Forest Service Pacific Southwest Forest and Range Experiment Station, Box 245, Berkeley CA 94701

Publication date: March 1, 1988

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2015 Impact Factor: 1.702
    Ranking: 16 of 66 in forestry

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
    Other SAF Publications
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