HELICONIA EPISCOPALIS POTENTIAL USE AS ORNAMENTAL PLANT
The objective of this study was to evaluate the potential of Heliconia episcopalis use as an ornamental plant and the management required for garden and cut flower cultivation. The study was carried out at Federal Rural University of Pernambuco (UFRPE) Heliconia Germoplasm Collection, Brazil, from January 2007 to December 2011. For use as ornamental plant for landscaping, this species has been demonstrated: tall clump height; open growth habit; shoot emergence in the internal part of the clump; green leaves contrasting with the yellow to orange upright inflorescence with closed bract arrangement; and partial visible inflorescences. The flowering period started at 13 months after planting (MAP) with a seasonal inflorescence production cycle, mainly from August to February. Plants produced more than 27 inflorescences per clump at 34 MAP and after 60 MAP, 567 cumulative shoots per clump and 179 cumulative flower stems per clump were observed. Inflorescences maintained a positive visual quality for 159 days, with more than 10 bracts on the inflorescence along with more than 30 basal bracts. This species represents a good option to be used in landscapes as the inflorescences maintain their quality for a long period of time. As cut flower plant, the results obtained were: 308 days from shoot to inflorescence emergence; 22 days from inflorescence emergence to harvesting; 1.55 cm flowering stem diameter; 0.89 m stem height; 0.10 and 0.04 m inflorescence length and width, respectively; 9 days postharvest durability; 0.11 kg of stem fresh weight (0.80 m height). As cut flower, the inflorescence could be harvested with different numbers of bracts, maintaining the postharvest quality. Also, the rachi present an interesting characteristic of became sinuous. In Heliconia breeding programs, this genotype could be a good option to hybridization since the type and position of inflorescences bracts could provide for easier packaging of the flower stem. The information obtained in this study is important to serve as guidelines for Heliconia breeding program studies and for genotypes selection.
Loges, V., de A. Lima, T.L., de Souza, C.C.F., da Silva, S.A.C.G. and de Castro, A.C.R. (2013). HELICONIA EPISCOPALIS POTENTIAL USE AS ORNAMENTAL PLANT. Acta Hortic. 1002, 405-411
Heliconiaceae, flowering period, tropical gardens, ornamental tropical plants