At the time of the "flower season" on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Mrs. Li Yanping came to the clove base in Guide County, Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Qinghai Province. Mrs. Li Yanping is a senior engineer at the Xining Forestry Research. She has been engaged in lilac cultivation and research for a long time. She is very familiar with lilacs: "Manchurian Lilac is a rare tree species in cloves. When grafted on it, shrub lilacs can also be planted as trees of which the appearance is beautiful and generous. The effect of promoting planting is good, and it is more conducive to urban greening. For the lilac varieties that are difficult to bear or do not bear fruit, they are usually preserved by grafting."
"Here we are mainly responsible for preserving lilac germplasm resources and cultivating new varieties. At present, there are 100 lilac germplasm collections, totaling 36,000 plants, forming an independent clove germplasm resource protection system." She said.
Over the years, with the efforts of a large number of experts, through the investigation of clove resources, variety collection, selection of suitable varieties, and breeding technology research, Xining has established the only lilac national forest tree germplasm resource bank in China. The original 18 species increased to 103 species, and 69 species can be bred.
Lilac loves sunlight, and its characteristics of tolerance to cold, drought, and barrenness are particularly suitable for the soil and climate of Qinghai. It can be planted anywhere, easy to survive, and can be planted in pots and vases. Lilac has been cultivated in Xining for hundreds of years.
In the intelligent greenhouse of the Xining Forestry Institute, the air is fresh and the temperature is pleasant, and the lilac seedlings explode their branches and leaves and grow vigorously.
"Different varieties of lilacs have different genes. There are many wild lilacs with high ornamental value but are difficult to grow in nature. The establishment of lilac germplasm resources bank can better protect and utilize lilac germplasm resources." Mrs. Mao Ying, engineer of Xining Institute of Forestry said: "Through tissue culture and grafting methods to breed wild lilacs, extract high-quality genes from wild varieties, and cross-breed lilacs that are resistant to cold, drought, pests and diseases, and have a longer flowering period, which will add more greenery and beauty to urban construction."
However, many wild lilac varieties are at risk of endangerment or even extinction. "Many rare lilacs often live in the wild in harsh environments. If they don't have suitable soil, they will not be able to take root and even face the danger of extinction," said Mrs. Zhang Jinmei, director of the Xining Forestry Institute.
The pale pink Pinnateleaf Lilac is a unique lilac species in China. Due to its weak fecundity and slow growth, it is almost extinct in the natural environment and is listed as an endangered plant under national tertiary protection. In order to find specimens of Pinnateleaf Lilac, Mrs. Zhang Jinmei leads a team to search for lilacs every time the lilac blooms and even travels across the provinces.
In 2015, in the Liancheng National Nature Reserve of Gansu, Mrs. Zhang and his colleagues finally found two wild Pinnateleaf Lilacs in a crack in a stone.
Nowadays, in the cultivation base of Xining Institute of Forestry, rows of transplanted Pinnateleaf Lilacs have grown to the height of one person. The progress in relevant scientific researches not only "breaks the ice" for the large-scale promotion and planting of this endangered species, but also lays the foundation for the subsequent cultivation of more excellent lilac varieties with more colors, long flowering period, and excellent stress resistance.
In 2019 alone, Xining planted 1.48 million lilacs in the streets and alleys, and the stock of lilacs seedlings exceeded 7.5 million. Xining has become one of the cities with more varieties of lilacs and a larger planting area in China.
"Preserving lilac germplasm, cultivating lilac varieties, and promoting lilac planting is the greatest significance of establishing a lilac germplasm resource bank." Mrs. Li Yanping said.