Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

East Asia and Europe unite for flowers

The ornamental flower industry is set to benefit from new ties between East Asian and European researchers responsible for breeding and preserving woody ornamental plants.
East Asia and Europe unite for flowers
Woody ornamental shrubs are grown mainly for florists and horticulturists, who use them for floral arrangements. Asian ornamental shrubs like Rhododendron, Camellia, Hydrangea and Paeonia are highly valued commodities that have been cultivated in Europe for two centuries. The breeding attempts of many anonymous gardeners, horticulturists and amateur growers have over the years resulted in vast, but poorly characterised, woody ornamental genetic resources.

The EU-funded FORESTFLOWERS (Expressed sequences (EST) as tags for functional genes for genetic characterisation of flowering woody ornamental shrubs from an oriental origin) initiative aimed to link the disjointed research carried out on flowering woody ornamental plants at East Asian and European institutions. The ornamental flower industry should benefit from knowledge shared between European institutes that traditionally breed and cultivate plants, and Asian institutes that prioritise plant conservation.

Through research exchanges at institutes in Belgium, China, France, Italy and Japan, researchers exchanged DNA and plant material from germplasm held in collections and botanical gardens. They then used these resources to find genetic tags that can be used to differentiate species and cultivars.

Collaborations forged by FORESTFLOWERS will strengthen breeding research while making the ornamental plant industry more sustainable by preserving biodiversity and conserving important genetic resources.

Related information

Keywords

Flowers, ornamental plants, horticulturists, Asian ornamental shrubs, FORESTFLOWERS
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