ORCHID BREEDING PROGRAMME IN MARDI
The Malaysian Agriculture Research and Development Institute (MARDI) embarked on the orchid breeding programme to assist the orchid industry in Malaysia. The programme consists of the Germplasm Collection and Hybridization Program. The germplasm collection of wild orchids started in 1976 as a conservation effort to protect the endemic species which were becoming extinct due to massive clearance of jungles and forest for development activities. A total of 1500 accessions of orchid species covering areas in Peninsular Malaysia and Sabah were collected and conserved. To expand the diversity, species from our neighbouring countries were also collected. The plants were grown in an orchidarium where an environment similar to the natural habitat of the species was created. These species were documented and evaluated based on their morphological and adaptation characteristics. The germplasm served as source of genetic materials for the hybridization work. The hybridization breeding program was initially started to produce new hybrids for cut-flower and potted plant production. But later, the development of heat-tolerant orchids became one of the main objectives due to the high demand for orchids in landscaping. Good flower characteristics such as flower color, shape, long inflorescence, long shelf life and free-flowering plant characteristics are traits required for the cut-flower production. For pot plants, besides flower quality the novel characteristics i.e. unique shape and fragrance were also emphasized. As a result a total of thirty hybrids were developed and could be introduced as potential hybrids for commercialization.
Rozlaily, Z., Wan Rozita, W.E., Farah Zaidat, M.N. and Nor Hazlina, M.S. (2015). ORCHID BREEDING PROGRAMME IN MARDI. Acta Hortic. 1078, 35-40
germplasm, hybridisation, cut flower, potted plant, heat-tolerant orchid