2017 Volume 67 Issue 3 Pages 257-267
Drought is a major constraint for sunflower (Helianthus annuus) production worldwide. Drought tolerance traits have been identified in the related wild species Helianthus argophyllus. This study was initiated to develop sunflower drought-tolerant genotypes by crossing cultivated sunflower with this species and analyze drought tolerance traits in the H. annuus and H. argophyllus populations, H. annuus intraspecific hybrids, and H. annuus × H. argophyllus interspecific hybrids along with the commercial hybrid Hysun-33 under three stress regimes: exogenous application of ABA, both by foliar spray and irrigation, and 5% PEG-induced osmotic stress. H. argophyllus populations had a significantly lower leaf area and higher water-use efficiency and leaf cuticular wax content under all treatments, and maintained a higher net photosynthetic rate and stomatal conductance under osmotic stress. Small leaf area and high cuticular waxes content of the wild species were, however, not inherited in interspecific hybrids which suggested for selection in F2 for these traits. Therefore, transgressive plants were selected in the F2 population to establish F3 plant progenies with silver-leafed canopy of H. argophyllus which showed higher achene yield under stress condition. These results are discussed with a view to using H. argophyllus to improve drought tolerance in cultivated sunflower.