India: Research underway at Thovalai floriculture center for mass cultivation of rare flowers

Researchers at the Floriculture Research Centre of the Tamil Nadu Agriculture University, established in 2008 at Thovalai in Kanyakumari district, are working on cultivating rare flowers, which would be attractive and bring higher revenue to the farmers, the Kanyakumari district collector M Aravind said.

The collector said that the aim of the research center was to produce quality flowers such as sampangi, arali, rose, kenthi, chrysanthemum, cockscomb firecracker flower, and vadamalli and enhance their production. Cultivation of exotic flowers like orchids, anthurium, and telegonina, which would have longer stems to make them suitable for decorations, have a longer shelf life and are resistant to pests and diseases was also researched.

Intercropping of flowering plants with cash crops like banana and coconut was also studied. Growing flowers that were not mass cultivated was another important topic at this station.

Arali, a flower that is found in almost all the districts in the state, grows on the roadsides and in commercial and private gardens. The varieties of this flower were brought from across the state and research showed that the arali flower, N1-15 grown in Rasipuram, is robust and produces quality flowers throughout the year, he said. The oil extraction from flowers for the production of scent and other cosmetics would help farmers immensely when the flowering season is at its peak and flowers fetch lower prices, he said.

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