|Author: ||D. Remotti|
|Keywords: ||germplasm, floriculture, genetic resource, ancient cultivars, phenotypic characterization.|
The introduction of Camellia japonica L. in Italy is dated about 1760, but only during the XIXth century this species became popular.
Many Italian nurserymen started growing Camellias at that time and soon this business became of remarkable importance.
In two well defined areas, the Lucchesia (Tuscany) and the lake Maggiore zone, camellia production was famous, due to the local nurserymen, breeders, and collectors.
In these areas camellias were grown in a great number of gardens and still today it is possible to find old specimens.
This paper reports the results of a research on old camellias grown in historic gardens of the lake Maggiore area and on their characterization and determination.
On the whole, 100 old C. japonica cultivars were determined (such as ‘Eleonora Franchetti’, ‘Corallina’, ‘Nebulosa’, ‘Sericea’, ‘Marmorata’, ‘Cruciata’, ‘Sacco’, ‘Vergine di Collebeato’, ‘Stella Polare’, ‘Francesco Ferruccio’, ‘Marchesa Margherita Serra’, ‘Bella Romana’, ‘Angela Cocchi’, ‘Maria Antonietta’, ‘Vittorio Emanuele II’, ‘Triphosa’, ‘Bella Lambertii’, ‘Roma Risorta’, ‘Gran Sultano’, ‘L’Avvenite’, ‘Prof.
Filippo Parlatore’, ‘Gloria delle Isole Borromee’, ‘Montironi’, ‘Bella di Firenze’) by means of descriptions found on old catalogues, prints on old garden reviews, and characterized by means of a detailed morphologic-botanical card.
The aim of this study was to define specific guidelines for the phenotypic characterization, rediscover forgotten cultivars and introduce them again in the commercial practice, as today in Italy the camellia production is based only on a few number of cultivars and is widely depending on import.
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