Many conditions need to be satisfied for gene flow to occur between a transgenic crop and its weedy relatives. Flowering overlap is one essential requirement for hybrid formation. Hybridization can occur between canola and its wild relative, wild radish. We studied the effects of wild radish plant density and date of emergence, canola (glyphosate resistant) planting dates, presence of other weeds, and presence of a wheat crop on the synchrony of flowering between wild radish and canola (as a crop and volunteer). Four field experiments were conducted from 2000 to 2002 in St-David de Lévis, Québec. Flowering periods of wild radish emerging after glyphosate application overlapped with early-, intermediate-, and late-seeded canola 14, 26, and 55%, respectively, of the total flowering time. Flowering periods of early-emerging wild radish and canola volunteers in uncropped treatments overlapped from mid-June until the end of July, ranging from 26 to 81% of the total flowering time. Flowering periods of wild radish and canola volunteers emerging synchronously on May 30 or June 5 as weeds in wheat overlapped 88 and 42%, respectively, of their total flowering time. For later emergence dates, few flowers or seeds were produced by both species because of wheat competition. Wild radish density in canola and wild radish and canola volunteer densities in wheat did not affect the mean flowering dates of wild radish or canola. Increasing wild radish density in uncropped plots (pure or weedy stands) hastened wild radish flowering. Our results show that if hybridization is to happen, it will be most likely with uncontrolled early-emerging weeds in crops or on roadsides, field margins, and uncultivated areas, stressing the need to control the early flush of weeds, weedy relatives, and crop volunteers in noncrop areas.
Nomenclature: Glyphosate; wild radish, Raphanus raphanistrum L. RAPRA; canola, Brassica napus L. ‘Hyola 357 RR’; wheat, Triticum aestivum L.