|Authors: ||S.O. Tshwenyane, T. Selebatso, B. Setshogela, M. Mothulatshipi, S. Phillip|
|Keywords: ||native ornamental plants, Dipcadi marlothii, Xerophyta retinervis, Bulbine abyssinica, cut flower|
Botswana has a rich diversity of indigenous flora.
About 3200 species of flowering plants have been identified in Botswana to date.
The main uses of these plants are for their products traded as fresh or dried fruits and medicine.
As a result, most ethnobotanical studies have focused on fruits, vegetables and medicine, and less on the ornamental horticultural importance of these plants.
Studies were carried out at the Botswana University of Agriculture and Natural Resources focusing on the potential of various plant species for ornamental and cut-flower uses.
Surveys were carried out in three districts, namely South East, Kgatleng and Ngwaketse, to identify and collect plants suitable for use as cut flowers.
Characteristics that were assessed on the plants were stem length, vase life, leaf yellowing, bud opening, flower quality and incidence of Botrytis cinerea. Crinum palusum, Ornithogalum seineri, Dipcadi marlothii, Xerophyta retinervis and Bulbine abyssinica were the plants studied. C. paludosum and D. marlothii were the most suitable for use as cut flowers, because of their long stem, over 45 cm, and longer vase life, over 5 days.
The pink trumpet flowers of C. paludosum made it an attractive flower, while O. seineri had sweet-scented flowers. O. seineri and Bulbine abyssinica had a sequential bud opening pattern that lasted 3 days for the full inflorescence, but the overall vase life of these two plants was short.
This project is still continuing, with more studies conducted around the country, and it can be concluded that indeed the indigenous plants of Botswana have great potential in the world floriculture industry.
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