FLORICULTURE IN ISRAEL - CLOSELY LINKED TO PLANT VIRUS RESEARCH
The Floriculture Industry in Israel for export started to develop in the early 1960s. The mild climate in the winter with strong sunlight and intelligent farmers were instrumental to the rapid growth of the industry. By using meristem tip cultures virus-free carnation plants were prepared, which after commercial increase enabled an annual export of more than 240 million flowers. Viruses in other flower crops, as Iris, Gladiolus, Rosa, Lilium and Pelargonium, were identified and assay methods were adapted. These were based mainly on ELISA or on indicator plants (Roses). In cooperation with leading nurseries virus-tested planting material was prepared for distribution to growers. Methods for decreasing natural infection were evaluated; including oil sprays, gray mulches and nets, and some results are presented. Several points will be emphasized: 1) Identification of viruses in a crop is a first step and should be followed up by research leading to the control of the disease, mainly by providing the growers with virus-tested propagation material. 2) After meristemming it is necessary to test plants at least 3 times for viruses, preferably over two growing seasons. 3) Plants have to be tested for their horticultural properties. Thoughts for the future of virus research in ornamentals are presented.
Loebenstein, G. (2006). FLORICULTURE IN ISRAEL - CLOSELY LINKED TO PLANT VIRUS RESEARCH. Acta Hortic. 722, 31-36
carnations, rose, lily, iris, detection, propagation of virus-tested stocks