Silflower (Silphium integrifolium (Michaux)) is a native North American relative of sunflower that is undergoing domestication as a perennial oilseed crop. As silflower incurs pest damage from multiple insect species, it is necessary to screen genotypes for their effect on insect performance such that more pest tolerant/resistant accessions can be incorporated into future silflower breeding programs. We present a bioassay protocol for silflower using the generalist herbivore fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith)). In this study, fall armyworm larvae were placed on leaf and flower tissue from eleven silflower genotypes, one cup plant (Silphium perfoliatum (L.) (Asterales: Asteraceae)) genotype, and an inbred sunflower line (Helianthus annuus (L.) (Asterales: Asteraceae), HA89). Caterpillar weight gained during a 4-d feeding period significantly differed on leaf and floral tissue from different silflower genotypes, between the Silphium species (silflower and cup plant), and between Silphium genotypes and annual sunflower. Two wild silflower genotypes produced lower larval weight gain on both the floral and leaf tissue than all other genotypes, suggesting these genotypes have either lower nutrition or greater resistance to fall armyworm. However, nonsignificant correlations between larval growth on floral versus leaf tissue across all plant species tested and among all silflower accessions suggest insect performances on these tissue types in silflower are independent. Along with identifying germplasm of interest for silflower breeding programs, we established an easily replicable bioassay protocol using fall armyworm on silflower floral and leaf tissues.
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Vol. 51 • No. 2