Development and utilization of ornamental geophytes: research challenges and sustainable production

R. Kamenetsky
In recent decades, modern research has been conducted on ornamental geophytes; hundreds of scientific papers have been published. Eleven ISHS international symposia on flower bulbs and three special symposia on the genus Lilium have been organized. Recent advances in the biology and global production of ornamental geophytes have taken place in a few principal directions. 1) The improvement of traditional crops: breeding, propagation, and commercialization of new cultivars. New technologies and molecular skills have been developed dramatically in the last 20 years. This progress has resulted in completely new data on the molecular regulation of development, florogenesis, dormancy, disease resistance and bioengineering of plants. Breeding for useful traits and new cultivars also employs novel and sophisticated techniques, resulting in tremendous progress in this field. 2) Introduction and development of new ornamental geophytes. Market saturation with traditional plants and flowers has stimulated an increased interest in “novelties”. Thus, many countries are evaluating their indigenous flora as a source of potential ornamental crops. 3) Rational use and conservation of natural resources. Harmony between natural resources and commercial production is an important instrument for germplasm enhancement and breeding. This process facilitates the search for new or useful traits for major geophytes, or the introduction and development of new plant assortments. 4) Commercial production in new regions. Increased globalization, the liberalization of markets, and the development of new products play important roles in the shaping of market trends and the development of consumer demand for goods and services. There has been a movement from a production-driven to a customer-driven strategy. New production centers are now located in different climates, and have produced a need to develop local agrotechniques and cultivars, as well as postharvest technologies and marketing policies. 5) Growing public concern over the potential environmental impact of pesticides, the increasing costs of energy and the urbanization of many bulb-producing regions. The development of sustainable production systems requires the integration of basic and applied research in order to examine entire agro-ecosystems, as well as a multidisciplinary approach to address the research needs.
Kamenetsky, R. 2017. Development and utilization of ornamental geophytes: research challenges and sustainable production. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1171:9-16
flower bulbs, recent advances, globalization

Acta Horticulturae