Agricultural Research Council South Africa
Overview

Lachenalia: Not A Flower By Any Other Name

South African floral diversity is well known worldwide. Gerbera, Gladiolus, Freesia, Ornithogalum, and Protea representing some of the most important floral crops and all of them originated here in South Africa. The world export market for floriculture products is estimated to be worth more than $25 billion. Despite South Africa’s rich floriculture diversity the country only contributes a fraction (less than 1%) to this market via exports. The development of new indigenous flower crops locally creates the opportunity to enlarge this fraction and to derive direct benefit from the rich flora of South Africa. Furthermore, if crop production of these genera can remain local much as possible before being exported, this would add much more value for the South African floral export market. For instance, the export of dry flower bulbs can contribute cash flow back into the country in the form of royalties for the cultivar developers. Further, it would produce job creation and other socio-economic benefits through the increased local production demand and foreign revenue of the export of products. Lachenalia is an indigenous bulbous plant that produces beautiful flowers, ARC has bred a genus of Lachenalia which is suited for dry bulb production and export. This is ideal for the large foreign market where bulbs will be used for fresh cut flowers or potted flowers.

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