An early step in determining whether a plant species has potential as a new ornamental crop is to identify what conditions promote reproductive versus vegetative development. Such information is critical to evaluate the ornamental potential (if flowering is desired), to propagate a plant for commercialization, and to produce a saleable product. Early experiments must determine juvenile phase length, as well as, determining whether photoperiod, irradiance, and/or cool temperatures (vernalization and/or dormancy) are involved in flower induction, initiation and development. The significance of each of these processes in new crop development will be discussed, as well as, demonstrated using three case studies. Specifically, our research on herbaceous flowering spring crops, South African geophytes (Watsonia, Gladiolus and Oxalis), and selected cacti (Rebutia, Lobivia, Gymnocalycium, Sulcorebutia, Echinopsis, and Echinocereus) and succulents (Kalanchoe, Sedum, Cotyledon, and Echeveria spp.) will be summarized in the context of the before mentioned flowering processes. How we prioritized experiments within each plant group, challenges we encountered, and future experiments will be discussed. Lastly, challenges we encountered and agreements/understandings we have with faculty in foreign countries when working with plant materials indigenous to their country will be discussed.
- Flower development
- Flower induction