Pyracantha coccinea M. Roem, also called scarlet firethorn, is a member of Rosaceae. It is an evergreen thorny perennial shrub and native to southeast Europe and Asia. It was introduced to North America in the 18th century and cultivated as an ornamental, medicinal, and nutritional plant (Fico et al., 2000; Potter et al., 2007). The plant is commonly used in commercial landscapes because of its abundant small, bright, showy red berries, open habit, and small, attractive white flowers. It is also often used as informal hedge or barrier plant, which is good for espaliers on walls and trellises. Scarlet firethorn berries are the most outstanding attribute of the species.
Flowering occurs in spring and the orange- to dark red-fleshy berries ripen in fall, which are usually eaten by birds. Ripe berries can be cooked to make jellies, jams, sauces, and marmalade (Quiroga et al., 2003). Pyracantha coccinea has great potential for further development not only for its ornamental value, but also for its food and medicinal values. The fruits of scarlet firethorn are commonly used in traditional medicine for diuretic, cardiac, and tonic properties (Kowaleuki and Mrugasiewicz, 1971). Moreover, Keser (2014) found that the berries contained antiradical and phytochemical properties. Pyracantha coccinea berries also have a good potential for the biosorptive removal of basic dyes (Akar et al., 2009) and as a biomonitor species for some heavy metals including copper and nickel (Akguc et al., 2010).
Traditionally, scarlet firethorn has been propagated by seeds, which require stratification at 5 °C for 90 d (Olmez et al., 2007). Softwood cuttings have also been used to propagate the plant and rooting required treatment with 1000 to 3000 ppm IBA and grown under mist (Dirr and Heuser, 2009). Currently, there is no in vitro micropropagation protocol using nodal cuttings for P. coccinea. The objective of this research was to develop an in vitro micropropagation protocol for P. coccinea.
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