Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Big, beautiful, disease resistant, long shelf life--what's not to like?

Researchers at the University of Hawai'i's College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources are cheering a new arrival, an impressive newly bred anthurium that shows great market potential.

(Image: The new Mauna Loa anthurium, held by Harold Tanouye of Green Point Nurseries. Credit: Green Point Nurseries.)

The new bloom, named Mauna Loa, is a huge thing, 10 inches long, and green at the margins with a glossy white interior. Growers figure they can get up to six flowers per stem annually from it, and that it is resistant to problem plant diseases like anthracnose and bacterial blight.

It has a vase life of nearly two months.

The flower was entered by Green Point Nurseries of Hilo in the Other Cut Flowers category in the Society of American Florists' 2008 Outstanding Varieties Competition, and it won a red ribbon.

The flower was developed in the University of Hawai'i's anthurium research program from a small white “obake” anthurium by Heidi Kuehnle, Haruyuki Kamemoto, Tessie Amore, John Kunisaki, Joanne Lichty and Janice Uchida. It originated in 1987 from “Tropic Ice,” a small white obake previously released by the college.

“Obake” is a Japanese word for supernatural beings, and in Hawai'i is normally translated to mean “ghost.”

The Mauna Loa is in a class of obake anthuriums that include the large pure white Mauna Kea, and the small white Tropic Ice, from which the Mauna Loa was bred.

The anthurium research program, established by Kamemoto in 1950, has produced more than 40 new varieties since 1963. Anthuriums are now the state's top cut flower, with annual sales approaching $5 million in 2007.

For more detail see

© 2008 Jan W. TenBruggencate

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