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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 813: VI International Symposium on New Floricultural Crops

PLUMERIA RUBRA: AN OLD ORNAMENTAL, A NEW CROP

Author:   R.A. Criley
Keywords:   benzylaminopurine, cytokinin, ethephon, frangipani, growth retardant, keeping quality, propagation
DOI:   10.17660/ActaHortic.2009.813.23
Abstract:
Known from early Spanish records of Aztec plants, Plumeria rubra L. has been spread across the tropical and subtropical worlds as a landscape tree. Early use in cemeteries led to its being called a graveyard flower, and the fragrant, colorful, waxy blooms were offered to the gods and the departed. In Hawaii, the flowers are strung to make a floral necklace, or lei, and the tree has become an important crop with over 14 million blooms sold for lei in 2005. Collectors have descended upon Hawaii to find different color forms, fragrances, and flower shapes, and the fever to own a new plant has brought prices as high as $75 per cutting for rare and unusual forms. Although records are unavailable for the value of exported cuttings, tens of thousands are exported each year from Hawaii to support this demand, but Thailand and Bali have become recent sources for new varieties from their thriving nursery industries. From Sicily to Australia, plumeria collectors have become a market for enterprising nurseries as new varieties are developed each year. This review presents information about propagation, culture, response to growth regulators, manipulation of flowering, and flower keeping quality as well as some of the problems of this special crop.
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