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Florists queue up for new cultivated flower.
Wellington - A gentian is a decorative plant with vivid blue flowers. Gentian violet is an equally vivid dye widely used as an antiseptic, especially for the treatment of burns.
Not necessarily any more. Scientists in New Zealand have cultivated a hot pink gentian which is exciting florists in Europe, the United States and Japan, where it is prized for flower arrangements.
And they have promising trials of red and purple gentians.
Flowerzone, an Auckland-based flower exporter, says it cannot meet the demand for the new gentians because supplies are limited to those available from a small commercial trial run by scientists at the Crop and Food Research organisation in Palmerston North.
The cut-flower cultivar, named Showtime Spotlight, was developed by a joint venture called Rhindo New Zealand after the Japanese word for gentian.
The company was formed by Crop and Food Research and Southland Flowers, where John Moffat, who has been growing gentians for 20 years, identified a potential demand for different coloured blooms.
Moffat will soon be cutting his own Showtime Spotlight gentians. Flowerzone is appealing to other growers to start producing the new cultivar to meet the blossoming demand from flower lovers overseas.
Flowerzone trading manager Louise Sheehan says about 90 percent of gentians are blue with a smattering of whites and pale pinks, but the development of the hot pink flower is proving a winner with buyers in Europe, Oregon in the US and Japan. - Sapa-dpa