Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) analysis was conducted on the wabisuke camellia and its relative camellia species. Genetic polymorphism was identified among the ‘Uraku’ camellia, its offspring ‘Tosa-uraku’ and Camellia japonica, whereas the two accessions of the old ‘Uraku’ showed monomorphism in all the fragments. The results suggested that the two old ‘Uraku’ trees are asexually-propagated clonal strains. The genetic distance between wabisuke cultivars and Chinese camellias and between wabisuke camellias and C. sinensis was much further than that between wabisuke cultivars and Camellia japonica. It has also been suggested that wabisuke camellias can be classified into two subgroups, I-1 and I-2, and that Subgroup I-2 originated from C. japonica, while Subgroup I-1, including ‘Uraku’ (synonym: ‘Tarokaja’), was developed by the repeated hybridization of C. japonica to interspecific hybrids with the Chinese camellias, e.g., C. pitardii var. pitardii, or by the involvement of related species not investigated in this study.
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