The art and science of horticulture and horticultural crops are integral parts of Iranian’s rich and ancient culture and modern economy. Many deciduous fruit, flowers, and vegetables are native to Iran (Persia), and from there, they were distributed to the rest of the world through the Silk Road established by the Achaemenid, the Royal Pars Dynasty. Variations in climate and presence of numerous mountains, lakes, rivers, and natural springs have created a unique country capable of producing all types of fruits, vegetables, and flowers. Apples and other deciduous fruits are commercially produced in mountain ranges of Alborz and Zagrous and in many central provinces of Iran. The Caspian Sea area in the north of Iran is one of the most unique regions in the world where mild Mediterranean climate meshed with the adjacent Alborz mountain ranges has created a home to numerous species of edible horticultural plants, ranging from tea to cherries and pomegranates. Pistachio, olive, citrus, banana, and date are produced in Kerman, Fars, and Khuzestan regions. However, the Iranian horticultural industry faces many challenges, including global and regional political issues. Although some attempt has been made to preserve invaluable germplasm, a large number of native fruits, vegetables, and flowers are becoming extinct. Postharvest transportation and storage of horticultural crops is one of the most important issues facing Iranian horticulture. The future of horticulture in Iran can potentially be bright, and horticultural products have the potential to replace the oil income after reserves disappear, particularly if peace prevails in the region.
This paper was presented during the 2016 ASHS Annual Conference, Atlanta, GA, as part of the Workshop titled “Seize Your Future Internationally: New Opportunities in Horticultural Consulting.”