Plant Breeding Practices in Sunflower (Helianthus annus, 2n =2x=34)

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Plant Breeding Practices in Sunflower (Helianthus annus, 2n =2x=34)

Sunflower is an important oil seed crop after soybean and it account for 12.5% of the oil production of the world. It oil content ranges from 46to 52% and is of high quality noncolesteral and anticolestotal properties leading sunflower countries are USSR, Bulgaria, Canada and USA.

In India the crop was introduced in 1969 from USSR with for promising introductions, EC68414, EC68415, and EC 69874. It is now grown extensively in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Tamilnadu and Andhra Pradesh and is spreading fast in other state like Punjab and Haryana.


Central part of United State of America.

It comprises 67 species out of which H.annus and H. tuberosus are cultivated as oil and food and plants respectively.


The stem is typically unbranched have strong tap root system. Leaves are arranged in opposite pairs, inflorescence is capitulum or head numbers of flower vary from 700 to 3000. The flowers of outer whorl are called ray florets. They have five elongated patels that are united to strap like structure. They vestigial style and stigmas and no anthers. Other flowers arranged in concentric rings over the remainder of the head are called disc florets. Each disc floret consists of sharp pointed chaffy bract, a basal inferior ovary a tabular corolla of five patels that are united except for the tips. Five anthers are united to farm a tube inside the anther. There is style terminating in the stigams, which is divided. The seed consist of seed coat endosperm and embryo. Sunflower shows the phenomenon of heliotropism. In which the developing head face east and west in morning and evening respectively.

Floral Biology and Hybridization Technique:

Sunflower is highly cross-pollinated crop mainly through insect and to a limited extent by wind. The flower opening starts from outer side of the head and proceed towards the centre of the head bloom with in 5 to 10 days, depending upon size and season. Anthers occur 5 to 8 a.m. the pollen remain viable for 12 hours and stigma remain receptive for 2 to 3 days.


A) Hand Emasculation:

Remaining the anther tube with forceps early in the morning does it. Unemascualted flower are removed.

B) Without Emasculation:

Some times the crossing is done with out emasculation hybrid plants are distinguished from selfed one on the basis of vigor or presence of some market genes.

C) Chemical Emasculation:
Application of Gibberlic acid (100ppm) after bud ignition for three days in the morning gives better results of emasculation.


Collecting pollen head that are bagged before flowering does it. It is done in the same morning after emasculation. Pollen can be applied small piece of cotton or camel hairbrush and is bagged again to protect it from cross-pollination with insect and wind.

Breeding Objective:

1) High seed yield
2) Lodging resistance, dwarf plant type
3) High oil content
4) Early maturity
5) Tolerant to stress condition
6) Resistance to bird damage
7) Resistance to disease- leaf rot, root rot, stem rot, powdery mildew.
8) Resistance to insect pest leaf eating caterpillar, grasshopper, Jassids, etc

Breeding Methods:

Sunflower is highly cross-pollinated crop.

1) Mass Selection:

In this method phenotypically superior plants are selected and harvested from a population and their seeds are mixed to continue new variety- modern.

2) Hybridization:

Currently there is increased emphasis in development of sunflower hybrid released in India in 1980. For production of hybrid seed cytoplasmic genetic male sterile lines are available in isolated field hybrid seed production programme is taken BSH-1 ( CMS 234 X RHA- 274).

Resistance Breeding:

It is important step in controlling disease. In India rust, alternaria, leaf spot and various farm and root and stem rot caused by Sclerotum, Rhizoctonia. Several wild species are reported to be resistant which could be used as donor parent to develop resistant varieties by back cross breeding.

Sunflower hybrids resistant to rust are MSFH-1 and MSFH-8.
Sunflower hybrids resistance to Downey mildew are LDMRSH-1, LDMRSH-3, LDMRSH-4, and LDMRSH-12.

Sunflower genotypes resistant to blight are EC-132846, EC-132847 and EC-126184.

National Programme:

AICRP on sunflower with headquarter, university of Agriculture science, Banglore.

Coordinating centres in Maharashtra – M.P.K.V, Rahuri, P.D.K.V, Akola, A.R.S , Latur.

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