• Zhanao DengEmail author
Part of the Handbook of Plant Breeding book series (HBPB, volume 11)


Caladiums are commonly grown in containers and in the landscape for their colorful and variably shaped leaves. They are indigenous to the tropic of South America and were introduced to Europe in the mid-eighteenth century. For the last seven decades, Florida has been the leading producer of caladium tubers, providing more than 95% of the tubers used in the world. Breeding over the last 160 years has resulted in numerous caladium cultivars. Hybridization has been the primary approach of breeding; selection of new cultivars has been focused on bright leaf colors, novel coloration patterns, multiple leaf development, and high tuber yield potential. Recent breeding objectives include enhanced resistance to Pythium root rot, Fusarium tuber rot, bacterial blight, and root-knot nematodes and tolerance to sunburns and chilling injury. Sexual hybridization will continue to play a major role in achieving these new objectives. Newly gained knowledge on the modes of inheritance for important foliar and horticultural traits and molecular markers are expected to increase the efficiency of caladium breeding. Somaclonal variation, ploidy manipulation, and interspecific hybridization will have potential to create novel colors and coloration patterns and improve disease resistance. More research on cellular and molecular technologies, such as protoplast culture, somatic hybridization, genetic transformation, genome and transcriptome analysis, and targeted gene editing, will be essential for continued improvement of caladiums in ornamental and horticultural traits.


Aroid Caladium Breeding Cultivar development Cytology Hybridization Inheritance Ploidy manipulation Somaclonal variation Tetraploid 


  1. Ahmed EU, Hayashi T, Zhu Y, Hosokawa M, Yazawa S (2002) Lower incidence of variants in Caladium bicolor Ait. plants propagated by culture of explants from younger tissue. Sci Hortic 96:187–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed EU, Hayashi T, Yazawa S (2004) Auxins increase the occurrence of leaf-color variants in caladium regenerated from leaf explants. Sci Hortic 100:153–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell ML, Wilfret GJ, Devoll DA (1998) Survey of caladium tuber producers for acreage of cultivars grown. Proc Fla State Hortic Soc 111:32–34Google Scholar
  4. Birdsey MR (1951) The cultivated aroids. Gillick Press, BerkeleyGoogle Scholar
  5. Cai X, Deng Z (2016) Thidiazuron promotes callus induction and proliferation in Caladium ×hortulanum Birdsey UF-4609. Propag Ornam Plants 16(3):90–97Google Scholar
  6. Cai X, Cao Z, Xu S, Deng Z (2015) Induction, regeneration and characterization of tetraploids and variants in ‘tapestry’ caladium. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 120:689–700CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cao Z, Deng Z (2017) De Novo assembly, annotation, and characterization of root transcriptomes of three caladium cultivars with a focus on necrotrophic pathogen resistance/defenses-related genes. Int J Mol Sci 18:712. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  8. Cao Z, Deng Z, McLaughlin M (2014) Interspecific genome size and chromosome number variation shed new light on species classification and evolution in Caladium. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 139:449–459Google Scholar
  9. Cao Z, Sui S, Cai X, Yang Q, Deng Z (2016a) Somaclonal variation in ‘Red Flash’ caladium: morphological, cytogenetic and molecular characterization. Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult 126(2):269–279. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cao Z, Sui Z, Yang Q, Deng Z (2016b) Inheritance of rugose leaf in caladium and genetic relationships with leaf shape, main vein color, and leaf spotting. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 141:527–534. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Cao Z, Sui Z, Yang Q, Deng Z (2017) A single gene controls leaf background color in caladium (Araceae) and is tightly linked to genes for leaf main vein color, spotting and rugosity. Hortic Res 4:16067. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Carpenter WJ (1990) Light and temperature govern germination and storage of caladium seed. HortScience 25:71–74Google Scholar
  13. Chu Y, Yazawa S (2001) The variation and the hereditary stability on leaf character of plantlets regenerated from micropropagation in caladiums. J Chin Soc Hortic Sci 47:59–67Google Scholar
  14. Chu Y, Hu T, Tsai YC, Chen JJ (2000) Effects of γ–rays irradiation and leaf blade culture on mutations in caladiums. J Chin Soc Hortic Soc 46:381–388Google Scholar
  15. Croat T (1994) Taxonomic status of neotropical Araceae. Aroideana 17:33–60Google Scholar
  16. Deng Z (2012) Fancy-leaved caladium varieties recently introduced by the UF/IFAS caladium breeding program. Proc Fla State Hortic Soc 125:307–311Google Scholar
  17. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2004) Technique for in vitro pollen germination and short-term pollen storage in caladium. HortScience 39:365–367Google Scholar
  18. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2006a) Independent inheritance of leaf shape and main vein color in caladium. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 131:53–58Google Scholar
  19. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2006b) Evaluation of caladium cultivars for sensitivity to chilling. HortTechnology 16:172–176Google Scholar
  20. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2006c) ‘Garden White’ – a large white fancy-leaved caladium for sunny landscapes and large containers. HortScience 41:840–842Google Scholar
  21. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2008) Caladium breeding: progress in developing lance-leaved cultivars. Proc Fla State Hortic Soc 121:395–398Google Scholar
  22. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK (2009) Leaf blotching in caladium (Araceae) is under simple genetic control and tightly linked to vein color. HortScience 44:40–43Google Scholar
  23. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Kelly RO, Seijo T, McGovern RJ (2005a) Pythium root rot resistance in commercial caladium cultivars. HortScience 40:549–552Google Scholar
  24. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Kelly RO, Seijo T, McGovern RJ (2005b) Screening for resistance to Pythium root rot among twenty-three caladium cultivars. HortTechnology 15:631–634Google Scholar
  25. Deng Z, Goktepe F, Harbaugh BK (2007) Assessment of genetic diversity and relationships among caladium cultivars and species using molecular markers. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 132:219–229Google Scholar
  26. Deng Z, Goktepe F, Harbaugh BK (2008a) Inheritance of leaf spots and their genetic relationships with leaf shape and vein color in caladium. J Am Soc Hortic Sci 133:78–83Google Scholar
  27. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Peres NA (2008b) ‘UF-404’ – Dwarf, red caladium for container-forcing and sunny landscape. HortScience 43:1907–1910Google Scholar
  28. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Schoellhorn RK, Andrew RC (2008c) 2003 Survey of the Florida caladium tuber production industry.
  29. Deng Z, Peres NA, Harbaugh BK (2011) Improving disease resistance in caladium: progress and prospects. Acta Hort 886:69–76. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Peres NA (2013) UF 4412 and UF 4424 – lance-leaved caladium cultivars. HortScience 48:239–244Google Scholar
  31. Dover KD, McSorley R, Wang K-H (2005) Resistance and tolerance of caladium cultivars to Meloidogyne incognita. Soil Crop Sci Soc Fla Proc 64:98–102Google Scholar
  32. Gager CR (1991) Leaf spot color and venation pattern inheritance in Caladium. Dissertation, University of FloridaGoogle Scholar
  33. Goktepe F, Seijo T, Deng Z, Harbaugh BK, Peres NA (2007) Toward breeding for resistance to Fusarium tuber rot in caladium: inoculation techniques and sources of resistance. HortScience 42:1135–1139Google Scholar
  34. Gong L, Deng Z (2011) Development and characterization of microsatellite markers for caladiums (Caladium Vent.). Plant Breed 130:591–595. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Graf AB (1976) Exotica, series 3: pictorial cyclopedia of exotic plants from tropical and near-tropical regions, 9th edn. Roehrs, RutherfordGoogle Scholar
  36. Grayum MH (1986) Pylogenetic implications of pollen nuclear number in Araceae. Plant Syst Evol 151:145–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Harbaugh BK, Wilfret GJ (1979) Gibberellic acid (GA3) stimulates flowering in Caladium hortulanum Birdsey. HortScience 14:72–73Google Scholar
  38. Hartman RD (1974) Dasheen mosaic virus and other phytopathogens eliminated from caladium, taro, and cocoyam through culture of shoot tips. Phytopathology 64:237–240CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Hartman RD (2007) Caladium plant named ‘Victoria’. United States Plant Patent. U.S. PP18,087, 25 Sept 2007Google Scholar
  40. Hartman RD (2008) Classic caladium sun series. GPN, Greenhouse Product News: 58Google Scholar
  41. Hartman RD, Zettler FW, Knauss JF, Hawkins EM (1972) Seed propagation of caladium and dieffenbachia. Proc Fla State Hortic Soc 85:404–409Google Scholar
  42. Hayward W (1950) Fancy-leaved caladiums. Plant Life 6:131–142Google Scholar
  43. Hetterscheid WLA, Bogner J, Boos J (2009) Two new Caladium species (Araceae). Aroideana 32:126–131Google Scholar
  44. Huxley A, Griffiths M, Levy M (1992) The new Royal Horticultural Society dictionary of gardening. MacMillan Press, LondonGoogle Scholar
  45. Jing Z, Wang Z (1991) Plant regeneration from leaf callus protoplasts of Caladium bicolor Vent. Physiol Plant 82:A17Google Scholar
  46. Job JS, Vijaya Bai K, Hrishi N (1979) Major factors limiting seed set in aroids. Paper presented at the 5th international symposium on tropical root and tuber crops, Visayas State College of Agriculture, Los Banos, Laguna, Philippines, 17–21 September 1979.
  47. Johnson AAT, Veilleux RE (2001) Somatic hybridization and application in plant breeding. Plant Breed Rev 20:167–225Google Scholar
  48. Jones EJ (1957) Chromosome number and phylogenetic relationships in the Araceae. Dissertation, University of VirginiaGoogle Scholar
  49. Knauss JF (1975) Description and control of Fusarium tuber rot of caladium. Plant Dis Rep 59:975–979Google Scholar
  50. Kurakubo Y (1940) Über die chromosomenzahlen von Araceae-Arten. Bot Zool 8:1492Google Scholar
  51. Lecoufle M (1981) Caladium humboldtii and its cultivar ‘Marcel’. Aroideana 4:114–115Google Scholar
  52. Li BJ, Wang JF, Xu ZF, Xu YQ, Yu MZ, He X, Shen Y (1994) Integration and expression of human growth hormone gene in Caladium bicolor. Sci China B 37:280–285PubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Li SJ, Deng XM, Mao HZ, Hong Y (2005) Enhanced anthocyanin synthesis in foliage plant Caladium bicolor. Plant Cell Rep 23:716–720CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Loh JP, Kiew R, Kee A, Gan LH, Gan Y-Y (1999) Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) provides molecular markers for the identification of Caladium bicolor cultivars. Ann Bot 84:155–161CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Loh JP, Kiew R, Hay A, Kee A, Gan LH, Gan Y-Y (2000) Intergeneric and interspecific relationships in Araceae tribe Caladieae and development of molecular markers using amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP). Ann Bot 85:371–378CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Madison M (1981) Notes on Caladium (Araceae) and its allies. Selbyana 5:342–277Google Scholar
  57. Marchant CJ (1971) Chromosome variation in Araceae: II: Richardieae to Colocasieae. Kew Bull 25:47–56CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Mayo SJ, Bogner J, Boyce PC (1997) The genera of Araceae. Royal Botanical Gardens, KewGoogle Scholar
  59. McGovern RJ (2004) Fighting Fusarium. Greenh Grow 22:146–150Google Scholar
  60. McSorley R, Wang K-H, Frederick JJ (2004) Host suitability of caladium varieties to Meloidogyne incognita. Nematropica 34:97–101Google Scholar
  61. Park SK (2012) Caladium plant named ‘Snow White Park’. United States Plant Patent. US PP22,706, 1 May 2012Google Scholar
  62. Pfitzer P (1957) Chromosomenzahlen von Araceen. Chromosoma 8:436–446CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Ramachandran K (1978) Cytological studies on south Indian Araceae. Cytologia 43:289–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Ridings WH, Hartman RD (1976) Pathogenicity of Pythium myriotylum and other species of Pythium to caladium derived from shoot-tip culture. Phytopahtology 66:704–709CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Sarkar AK (1986) Mode of evolution in Caladium bicolor (Ait.) Vent. (Araceae). Biologisches Zentralblatt 105:621–639Google Scholar
  66. Seijo TE, Peres NA, Deng Z (2010) Characterization of strains of Xanthomonas axonopodis pv. dieffenbachiae from bacterial blight of caladium and identification of sources of resistance for breeding improved cultivars. HortScience 45:220–224Google Scholar
  67. Sharma AK (1970) Annual report, 1967–1968. Res. Bul. Univ. Calcutta (Cytogenetics Lab.) 2:1–50. (cited from Petersen, 1989)Google Scholar
  68. Sharma AK, Sarkar AK (1964) Studies on the cytology of Caladium bicolor with special reference to the mode of speciation. Genetica Iberica 16:21–47Google Scholar
  69. Simmonds NW (1954) Chromosome behavior in some tropical plants. Heredity 8:139–146CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Subramanian D, Munian M (1988) Cytotaxonomical studies in south Indian Araceae. Cytologia 53:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. The Plant List (2013) Version 1.1.
  72. Thongpukdee A, Thepsithar C, Chiensil P (2010) Somaclonal variation of Caladium bicolor (Ait.) Vent. ‘Jao Ying’ after in vitro culture propagation. Acta Hortic 855:281–287CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Wilfret GJ (1983) Inheritance of vein color in caladium leaves. HortScience 18:610Google Scholar
  74. Wilfret GJ (1986) Inheritance of leaf shape and color patterns in Caladium (Araceae). HortScience 21:750Google Scholar
  75. Wilfret GJ (1992) ‘Florida Cardinal’ caladium. HortScience 27:1342–1344Google Scholar
  76. Wilfret GJ (1993) Caladium. In: de Hertogh A, LeNard M (eds) The physiology of flower bulbs. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 239–247Google Scholar
  77. Wilfret GJ, Hurner GT Jr (1982) A survey of caladium cultivars grown in Florida and their characteristics as potted plants. Proc Fla State Hortic Soc 95:190–194Google Scholar
  78. Zettler FW, Abo El-Nil MM (1979) Mode of inheritance of foliage color in caladiums. J Hered 70:433–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Horticulture, Gulf Coast Research and Education CenterUniversity of Florida, IFASWimaumaUSA

Personalised recommendations