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Petunia

Science and plants

Apparently, science and plants are two things that do not have much in common, but this is not the case: science in general was already born due to human curiosity and its desire to discover how that wonderful machine that is nature works, while everyone we know that plants are one of the most fascinating, most studied and most loved products of nature itself. The beauty is when these two parts of man’s life or at least the world around him come together: to do this, however, the human being, but has known both science and plants for countless decades, has had to wait only for the modern or almost contemporary era, because the true science applied to plants is less than a century old. This communion was only able to materialize so recently because we had to wait for the fundamental advances in technology that would make everyone so usable. But many wonder what the result of all this is; well we must consider the human spirit that necessarily wants to improve nature and “put” its hand in it, and in fact many studies have been done to modify plant species in order to obtain specific results: abundance of flowers in some cases, more fruits disease resistant, longer life in still others.

Hybrid plants


When humans use their scientific technology to modify certain plant species, this almost never happens by genetic recombination; some experiments have been done in the past in this sense, but for two main reasons they have been set aside: the first thing is that nature seems to defend itself as no genetically modified plant has had a long and problem-free life (perhaps to our knowledge still too limited), the second thing is that there have been legislative limitations in order to avoid potentially unmanageable problems with new species with unpredictable growth. More than anything else, scientific studies focus on the production of new or modified species of the same plant through the forced coupling of particular specimens that have interesting characteristics. This gives rise to the famous hybrid plants: they are specimens obtained by joining two plants of different species but with some compatibility points, to try to obtain certain characteristics of one with others of the other. For those who are at least vaguely acquainted with Mendel’s laws of genetics, it is known that not all these unions will lead to the same results: when the desired combination is born, one tries to make it replicate and make it “definitive”.

Petunia

We would like to explain why to introduce the beautiful Petunia plant we used the topic of plant hybridization, genetics and technology applied to the plant world. Perhaps not many will know that petunia is one of the most hybridized plants on the market, but above all not everyone knows that practically all the species marketed are hybrids and cultivars (hybrids made for extensive and productive cultivation). Yes, the beautiful plant that is famous for its funnel-shaped flowers with bright and lively colors is the result of a study begun decades ago, aimed at selecting the most suitable species to land on the European and world market in terms of climatic resistance. and floral productivity. In fact, the petunia is native to Brazil and specifically to its sub-tropical areas; therefore it would not be suitable for our local climate, nor for many others; however, those who grow one can tell us that some species of petunia are even perennial (ie they do not die in winter) and above all that their flowering extends from spring to almost December. These are extraordinary features, aren’t they? Definitely yes, classic hybridization.

Hybrid and features

In fact, everything that has been done for petunias is the result of sensible reasoning, as it has been noted that this species of floral plant enjoyed enormous success thanks to its flowers, which have a very particular shape, defined as “funnel” , with slightly wavy upper margins. We have therefore tried to adapt this plant to the market around the world, and this intent has been fully achieved: the plant is widespread and appreciated by everyone, also because it has become (before it certainly was not, as it is native to tropical areas ) very rustic and therefore without “vices” in terms of exposure, temperatures and diseases. Indeed, the plant is able to easily overcome the winter throughout Italy, to flower in spring and remain beautiful until the end of November. Not only, you can also notice a huge variety of colors of its flowers, which cover practically the whole chromatic range with the exception of black. The only small flaw is reproduction: the most widespread species in Europe is sterile, i.e. its seeds do not generate new specimens (it is one of the possible consequences of hybridization), but reproduction is still possible by cuttings, or by cutting a twig or a part of the plant and placing it in the ground. When the climate does not allow it is good to ripen the cutting in the greenhouse, but only when you have low temperatures. or its seeds do not generate new specimens (it is one of the possible consequences of hybridization), but reproduction is still possible by cuttings, or by cutting a branch or part of the plant and putting it on the ground. When the climate does not allow it is good to ripen the cutting in the greenhouse, but only when you have low temperatures. or its seeds do not generate new specimens (it is one of the possible consequences of hybridization), but reproduction is still possible by cuttings, or by cutting a branch or part of the plant and putting it on the ground. When the climate does not allow it is good to ripen the cutting in the greenhouse, but only when you have low temperatures.

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