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Heliconia´s species for cut flowers.

Numerous species of Heliconia are native to Brazil and some of them can easily adapt to the existing environmental conditions in many areas of the world, only a few are sold as cut flowers. The cut flower market being limited to the most cultivated species, such as H. bihai, H. psittacorum, H. wagneriana, H. rostrata, H. stricta and the Torch group hybrids. The objective of this research was to evaluate 30 species of Heliconias for the purpose of diversifying the number of species available to the local cut flower market. A point scoring system was used to determine those species most suitable for use as cut flowers. This system was based on flowering period, shrub production, stem rigidity, postharvest durability, handling, packaging and transportation, shipping durability, and market values. The species considered fairly suitable, with a score ranging from 25 to 35 points, were in ascending order: H. hirsuta, H. bourgaeana, H. foreroi, H. rauliniana, H. angusta var. flava, H. caribaea, H. chartaceae, H. latispatha, H. angusta ‘Holiday´, H. episcopalis, H. rostrata, H. Agusta var. aurorea, H. sampaioana, H. librata and H. velloziana. The species regarded as quite suitable, a score higher than 35
points, were in decending order: H. orthotricha, H. bihai and H. stricta, H.psittacorum, H. aurea and H. wagneriana. We have concluded that the cut flower market for Heliconias can be extended through offering more species suitable for cut flowers. This will lead to the cultivation of a wider range of species and thus help create new jobs. The point scoring system used in this study was found to be an excellent tool to establish cut flower sales potential of the species studied.

ISSN: 2447-536X

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