The project, promoted by the Ligurian Agricultural Production Development Consortium (Società per lo Sviluppo delle Produzioni Agricole Liguri Consortile ARL - Consorzio FioriFrutti), aimed to bring together the competences of local enterprises operating in the floriculture sector of a region like ours, where floriculture represents a sizeable economic activity, both at the regional and national level.
Central to the project was consideration of the importance of establishing close relations with the Regional Institute for Floriculture, as a research institute and as an instrumental body of Liguria Region, within the context of the emphasis of European and regional strategies on public-private interactions for the strengthening of the system’s competitiveness. As highlighted by the various technical reports of the project, the companies involved were able to systematise and share productive and commercial experiences and knowledge indispensable for focusing on the issues and potential of the set objectives. The same reports also evidenced the need to appeal or resort to public research institutions in order to receive help in researching issues and identifying solutions for a positive development of the system. Thus, by bringing together public and private sector competences, a sufficient critical mass can be found to implement innovations.
Below is a summary of the results for each research line addressed as part of the project. For further information on the project, please consult the website of the consortium Consorzio FioriFrutti, which lists the details and characteristics of the obtained products in greater detail.
Work conducted by three hybridization companies, aimed at obtaining new cut flower varieties, made it possible to create a significant collection of parental lines for use in hybridization programmes. Over a hundred hybrids were identified as suitable for the cultivation and environmental conditions of our territory, and as candidates for further commercial development assessment.
Hybridization work led to the identification of around fifteen cut flower cultivars of value for their chromatic flowering homogeneity and agronomic qualities that make them suitable for Ligurian pedoclimatic conditions (e.g. robustness, erect grow habit, fast growth, high quality). Further lines are at an advanced selection phase, and, in the near future, will be able to generate new products suitable for both cut and vase flower segments. Part of the project focused on developing physiological and agronomic knowledge applicable to cultivation management.
The research aimed at obtaining suitable cut flower genotypes made it possible to identify several hybrid combinations of interest for their colour characteristics and flowering homogeneity. Flower vase lines were also obtained with new colours and double and homogeneous flowers. Both project research streams were aimed to furthering knowledge on the biological cycle and cultivation techniques of this plant, which are bound to have even more significant impacts in the near future.
The project research aimed to further knowledge on the hybridization and cultivation of this plant as a fundamental basis for further developments.
The two project research streams focused on this crop led to the development of various lines with different colours suitable for cut flower production, and for greenhouse cultivation, in particular. Suitable genotypes were also identified for vase flower cultivation that will be further assessed for near future commercial development.
The project research stream dedicated to the peony demonstrated the possibility of applying agronomic techniques to managing early cut flower production, and, therefore, of increasing profitability.
The research focused on the dahlia generated important knowledge regarding the biological cycle of this plant and the potential for hybridization under local climate conditions. The work led to the identification of seven cut and fourteen vase flower lines promising for near future commercial development.
The four project research streams aimed at obtaining lines suitable for local development identified promising results in seven cultivars suitable for cultivation in cold greenhouses, around fifteen standard carnation cultivars resistant to pathotypes 2 and 4 of the pathogen Fusarium ox. f.sp. dianthi, around twenty scented cultivars with post-harvest durability qualities, and various miniature cut-flower cultivars that will be subjected to further assessments.
The project research stream considered the use of Cypridedium and Paphiopedilum microthermal orchids, addressing issues relating to hybridization and in vitro propagation, which will form the basis for further assessments of the products of interest.
The project research stream generated several insights concerning diagnostics and crop management for the Stella 2000 cultivar, the current market leader, with a view to mitigating common physio-pathological issues.
The project research stream developed alternative products from the Oceania region, including Psilotus, Sandersonia and Gloriosa, which showed good adaptability to local conditions, interesting products for low-cost facilities and reduced labour needs, including the flower artichoke, products suitable for cultivation at moderate altitudes and, therefore, a potential new source of income in underdeveloped and abandoned areas, including foliage rose berries, and new miniature plants for cultivation in small vases, such as roses with berries of varying sizes.
AROMATIC PLANTS & FLOWERS FOR FOOD USE
A project research stream was developed on the sage genus, highlighting the potential of directly using some species foliage and cut flowers and of obtaining some genetically improved hybrids suitable for borders and flower vases. Project research streams aimed at eco-sustainable management of aromatic vase essences furthered knowledge on topical issues such as the reduction in use of agro-chemicals and nitrogen fertilizers for the most common aromatic vase crops in the Albenga area. A final project research stream considered new market opportunities in the use of flower essences for new scents and flavours.