|Authors: ||S. De Pascale, D. Romano|
|Keywords: ||cut flower, germplasm, gardening, landscaping, potted ornamentals|
Over recent years, the floriculture trade, in particular cut flowers and potted ornamentals, has been on the rise, driven by the growing interest of society in its environmental and well-being benefits.
Consequently, it is in the best interest of floriculturists, extension specialists and scientists to tap upcoming trends and opportunities for new ornamental plants.
Wild plants could represent potential candidates to be used as ornamentals.
The term “wild” when applied to plant species refers to those that grow spontaneously in self-maintaining populations in natural or semi-natural ecosystems and can exist independently of direct human action.
Although often overlooked with respect to their commercial development, wild plant species can have a considerable role in floriculture.
Wild plants are also successfully used in sustainable landscaping and xeriscaping for their beauty, functionality in maintaining environmental stability in terms of resource preservation, low water consumption, reduced demand for pesticides and other chemical inputs, suitability in preserving valuable wildlife habitats as well as reduced maintenance and labor costs.
With respect to the contribution of wild plants to improved flower trade, aspects to be considered include: i) conservation and sustainable use of wild species; ii) identification of wild species useful as sources of new ornamentals; iii) germplasm conservation; and iv) the role of research institutions and nurseries in the innovation process.
This review gives an overview of all these aspects in relation to the Mediterranean basin, which is considered to be one of the planet's biodiversity 'hotspots', because of its high level of endemism.
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