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Agriculture Handbook



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Flower color inheritance in alfalfa has been studied more extensively than any of its other qualitative characters. Alfalfa flower color, because of its extensive variation, has been used to identify variety, plant breeding and genetic materials, and to distinguish between self-pollinated plants and those resulting from cross-pollination (6, 8).1 According to Clement (3) and Pedersen (11), flower color is often an important factor in the attractiveness of alfalfa clones to insect pollinators. The usefulness and importance of alfalfa flower color has been established; but the many hues, patterns, and intensities of purple, yellow, and combinations of purple and yellow pigments have caused difficulty in phenotypic classification. This handbook briefly describes the genetics of alflafa flower color, discusses factors that influence alfalfa flower color classification, presents a system for visually classifying flower color, and presents color prints to illustrate the various flower color classes.

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