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RongNa Liang and Brent K. Harbaugh

Trachelium caeruleum has been grown in the United States as a cut flower for about a decade. Only two cultivars, `White Umbrella' and `Purple Umbrella', were readily available for commercial use before 1997, but nine new cultivars became available in the last few years. Comparative performance trials have been lacking for these cultivars in the United States. This trial evaluated 11 cultivars of trachelium for cut flower production performance (vegetative and flowering characteristics) and postharvest longevity. The evaluation was in the spring of 1999 at Bradenton, Fla. (27.4 N, 82.5 W; AHS Heat Zone 10; USDA Cold Hardiness Zone 9b). Plant height for all cultivars except `White Umbrella' was above 30 inches (76 cm), a height required for acceptance as a high quality cut flower. `Summer Lake' had the smallest inflorescence diameter of 3.9 inches (10.0 cm) and `Lake Powell' the largest at 6.1 inches (15.4 cm). `White Umbrella' (160 days from seed to flower) was the earliest to flower and `Lake Powell' (169 days) the last to flower. Vase life was as short as 7 days for `Summer Lake' to as long as 11 days for `White Umbrella'. `Lake Powell' (white color group), `Summer Blue Wonder' (blue color group), and `Lake Superior' (purple color group) had the highest overall rankings.

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Brent K. Harbaugh, Michelle L. Bell, and Rongna Liang

Lisianthus [Eustoma grandiflorum (Raf). Shinn.] is emerging as an important cut flower in the United States while in European and Asian markets it is already listed among the top ten cut flowers. Many new cultivars have been released in the United States within the last 5 years, but comparative performance trials of these cultivars have been lacking. This trial evaluated 47 cultivars of lisianthus representing series (cultivar groups) that were marketed in the United States in 1998. Evaluations were made for rosetting, plug performance, cut-flower characteristics (vegetative and flowering attributes) as well as postharvest longevity of cut flowers. Significant differences among cultivars were found for all of the attributes evaluated. `Malibu Purple', `Catalina Blue Blush', and `Alice Pink' were selected as the best performers in the seedling (plug) stage since they had less than 5% rosettes, large leaves and a vigorous root system. Cultivars were placed in classes based on flower color, flower size, and number of petals (single or double flowers). Cultivars were ranked for each of the attributes and the total rank sum of all attributes (TRS) was used to select the best in class. Cultivars selected as best in class were `Malibu Purple', `Malibu Blue Blush', `Alice Purple', `Balboa Blue', `Avila Blue Rim', `Mellow Pink', `Flamenco Wine Red', `Flamenco Rose Rim', `Alice Pink', `Avila Rose' and `Echo Pink', `Alice White', and `Mariachi White'.