Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Orange orchid Wednesday

Orange orchids?

Using methods of distant hybridisation and embryo rescue, Greater Kaohsiung’s Agricultural Research and Extension Station introduced an orange-colour gene from Vanda orchids into moth orchids. The result? New varieties of pure orange moth orchids.

Darwin might object, but the station has already developed more than 50 combinations.

With the developed variety “Orange Lover” successfully registered at the Royal Horticultural Society in 2012, three other types of orange moth orchids – the “Orange Girl,” the “Orange Cinderella” and the “Orange Venus” – have recently been approved, marking the start of a new chapter for Taiwan as “moth orchid kingdom,” according to local press.

Moth orchids are popular, and Taiwan faces competition from Europe, China and Southeast Asia, along with the Netherlands. The latter’s advanced cultivating skills and comprehensive marketing strategy has allowed it to become the largest moth orchid sprout producer in the world.

The Thais mean to keep one step ahead, for the pure orange-coloured moth orchid is a cross-bred variety made through the station’s “orchid cross-breeding technique service platform”. This is expected to assist the industry to overcome obstacles in the process of hybridizing to develop new, unique moth orchid varieties.

The genome complexity of these varieties is high and they are difficult to breed using traditional hybridization methods, so there is no fear that companies in the Netherlands can produce similar varieties, he said.

By Pamela Kelt

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