review of trials programmes and research on ‘novel’ subjects

Field and tunnel-grown cut-flowers with potential for UK exploitation

Through carrying out a programme of information gathering, trials, demonstrations and technology transfer, the HDC funded Cut-Flower Association (CFA; formerly operating as the National Cut-Flower Trials Centre, CFC) aims to encourage an appropriate expansion of cut-flower production in the UK.
 
One particular aim is to research ‘novel’ cut-flower subjects, novel in this context meaning flowers that are currently little known, or not grown, as cut-flowers in the UK. The project’s remit primarily covers species suitable for growing outdoors in the field or in Spanish tunnels, though an extension into production under glass (to achieve continuity or extension of season) is not excluded. Annual, biennial and perennial species, bulbous plants, herbaceous and shrubby species, foliage and fillers, are all potentially included.
 
The current HDC-funded project runs from 2013 to 2017, and this review is part of the initial phase of information-gathering. The intention is to inform UK growers, technologists and researchers about new crop opportunities, and specifically to:
 
• Review worldwide research on novel cut-flower crops and how to optimise their commercialisation, and use this information to inform the CFA’s programme of trials and demonstrations.
• Review trials programmes on cut-flowers and cultivars including novel subjects.
• Facilitate access to other sources of information on cut-flower production.
• Where possible, summarise data on production levels and trends in the cut-flower trade (this topic will be covered in a later update of the review).
 
The review uses both Internet sources and CABI’s Horticultural abstracts database, and initially covers a period from about 2000 to date. It is a work in progress and will be extended and updated over the lifetime of the project. It is divided into four sections reviewing:

• Research on novel cut-flower crops.
• Cut-flower trials and programmes.
• Cultivar comparisons.
• Sources of information

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