Sakata Seed Corporation in Japan has taken Lisianthus breeding to a new level with the development of the world’s first Lisianthus type that does not produce pollen.
With no stamen to produce pollen, Sakata’s new Lisianthus varieties have excellent flower durability and the benefit of no scattered pollen that can cause staining of flowers and machines. The patent-pending, pollen-free flower type is common among cut flowers such as sunflowers; however, this is a world’s first in Lisianthus: a cut flower with increasing popularity and market growth.
There are two major benefits to pollen-free Lisianthus cut flower. The first one is that during transportation shaking will not cause pollen to scatter, thus the petals stay clean and are not smeared with pollen. Secondly, the absence of pollination can mean an ever longer vase life for the flowers.
Sakata has initially developed three varieties: single-flowered white, single-flowered blue picotee, and single-flowered pink picotee. Seed sales of these three varieties are scheduled for test marketing in Japan in the fall of 2017. Research of a double-flowered type is also underway.
Early research by Sakata and other companies sought to determine the quality of flower durability achieved through pollen-free technology. One of the reasons for decreased vase life of cut flowers is pollination, which results from the physiological characteristics of the plant. The pollen-free type does not produce any pollen and therefore cannot pollinate, which improves its longevity. This characteristic is displayed most strongly during the summer months when the temperature is high and flower durability tends to decrease. The newly developed pollen-free type is ideal for shipping in the summer season, characterized by a high demand for cut flowers, and can give consumers the opportunity to enjoy Lisianthus cut flowers for a much longer period.
In large-scale facility cultivation in The Netherlands, growers harvested more than 10,000 Lisianthus cut flowers in one day, and moved them using transportation bands and binding machines. If they use a conventional variety, pollen is scattered around. Many times, pollen will cause the flowers to stain yellow. Removing stained flowers is a burden for growers. Pollen-free varieties will free the growers from extra work and, furthermore, reduce the shipping loss.