Robert P. Doss
The Fifth International Symposium on Flowerbulbs, organized by Washington State University and the USDA-ARS, Horticultural Research Laboratory, was held in Seattle, Washington, USA on July 10–14, 1989. Over 70 participants, representing 14 countries in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres were present.

A keynote address, given by Dr. Luca Comai of Calgene, Inc., provided flowerbulb researchers with a look into the future role of genetic engineering in ornamental horticulture. Dr. Comai suggested that transformation of bulbous plants with genes that control flower color or that confer virus resistance may be possible in the near future. In this regard, it is noteworthy that efforts are already underway in The Netherlands to insert virus coat proteins into lilies, with the goal of conferring resistance to some of the more harmful lily viruses.

Invited presentations by Drs. C. J. Gould ("History of bulb growing in Washington State"), R. H. Lawson ("Production and maintenance of virus free bulbs"), A. H. Halevy ("Recent advances in control of flowering and growth habit of geophytes"), and A. A. De Hertogh ("Perspectives on future marketing, research and educational programs for flower bulbs") were well received and, in some cases, pointed the way toward the kinds of research needed for continued progress in flowerbulb culture.

A total of 89 contributed oral and poster presentations ran the gamut in subject matter from plant breeding to agricultural engineering. That is not to say that all areas were well represented. Dr. De Hertogh, in closing remarks, noted the shortage of reports of research in flowerbulb marketing, insect control, crop modeling and agricultural engineering. These areas are important to the flowerbulb industry, and it is to be hoped that they will be better represented in future symposia.

Advances on several fronts were reported. Plant breeders described several new developments including a new type of mini-gladiolus (Cohen and Barzilay), methods for development of interspecific bulbous iris (Eikelboom and van Eijk), interspecific and intergeneric hybrids of Amaryllidaceae (Coertze and Louw) and polybloidy and interspecific hybridization of lily (van Tuyl et al.). Advances in tissue culture propagation of iris (van der Linde and Hol; Anderson et al.), narcissus (Squires and Langton), tulip (Koster; Baker et al.; Alderson and Taub), lily (Paffen et al.; van Tuyl et al.) and Hippeastrum (Okubo et al.) were all discussed.

There were several papers dealing with virus diseases of flowerbulbs. Among these, a presentation on the use of antiviral compounds for elimination of Narcissus viruses (Phillips) and a paper on the differentiation of viruses that cause tulip breaking were notable, as was a discussion on the development of new techniques for detection of viruses (Boonekamp).

Doss, Robert P. (1990). EPILOGUE. Acta Hortic. 266, 581-582
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1990.266.78

Acta Horticulturae