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First NZ exports of pink gentians a success

First NZ exports of pink gentians a success



First shipments of the a new pink gentian have gone to Japan, Europe and the US and their popularity means suppliers can’t keep up with demands.

The cut-flower cultivar, ‘Showtime Spotlight’ developed by the Joint Venture Rhindo New Zealand, is the first commercial hot-pink gentian to go on the market.

Rhindo New Zealand is named after the Japanese word for gentian and its partners, Southland Flowers and Crop & Food Research, are breeding new cut flowers for international markets.

Trial exports of ‘Showtime Spotlight’ have just got underway with Auckland-based floriculture exporter, Flowerzone, shipping the budding success to established customers in Japan, Europe and the US.

Flowerzone’s Trading Manager Louise Sheehan says about 90 percent of gentians are blue with a smattering of whites and pale pinks, but the development of the hot-pink flower is proving a winner.

“Our customer in Oregon, who has many years experience importing and marketing the blue gentian, wants many more than we can supply,” she says. “And, Japanese importers, and the renowned gentian growers in Ashiro (Japan), are very pleased with them.”

Pink coloured flowers are in demand in the Northern Hemisphere now as their spring commences, Ms Sheehan says.

Flowerzone is unable to meet demand for the new gentians as those being exported are from a small commercial trial being run by scientists at Crop & Food Research in Palmerston North.

Crop & Food Research ornamental scientist Ed Morgan says a gentian grower of 20 years, John Moffat of Southland Flowers, saw the potential for extending the gentian colour range and discussed it with him.

“The hot pink ‘Showtime Spotlight’ cultivar is the first of several new gentian colours we have developed in our breeding programme,” Mr Morgan says. “Its pleasing to see the new gentians beginning to realise their commercial potential as we have red and purple-flowered gentians to follow.”

‘Showtime Spotlight’ gentians growing at John Moffat’s Southland property flower a little later than those in Palmerston North and are expected to enter the market at the end of March.

Meanwhile, Flowerzone is looking for gentian growers to take on the new cut-flower so it can fill demands.

ENDS

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