Hokubu Agricultural High School students succeed with sterile cultivation of Easter lily
July 13, 2012 Ryukyu Shimpo
Ten students majoring in horticultural engineering at Hokubu Agricultural High School, have succeeded in sterile cultivation of the Easter lily. They launched the project last year with the aim of increasing the numbers of this flower that symbolizes Nago but is losing its hold in the wild. The strain grown in a sterile culture has a high probability of taking root in a natural environment. Koji Miyoshi, who teaches the students, stated, “This project marks the first step towards restoring the original landscape of Nago.”
The students collected some of the flower bulbs from the wild, and made the lilies produce buds using the school’s disinfection equipment. The lily family of plants is known to have viruses and struggles to take root in a natural setting because the leaves of the infected bulbs die down, producing fewer petals.
As a result of testing seven bulbs, including the strains cultivated at the school, flowers growing naturally in Nago, and garden species, the students confirmed that the strains cultivated in a sterile environment did not have any viruses while others did.
In future, the project aims to increase the number of the lily strains cultivated in a sterile environment. The project will take several years to complete because it needs to establish the technique of allowing the strain to proliferate in sterile conditions, and make the bulbs grow. After the students currently working on the project graduate from the school, the younger students will take over. If the project succeeds in increasing the number of bulbs, they will be distributed to residents’ associations and elementary schools, which will then contribute to restoring the exuberance of blooming Easter lilies to the scenery of Nago.
Daiki Maeda, one of the students, said, “It was difficult to sanitize the incubator and prevent viruses from spreading. I look forward to the younger students to take over the project. I will be glad if I can see more Easter lilies blooming in Nago.”
Many Easter lilies used to grow along the road called Nanamagari that runs from Kyoda to Agarie in Nago, coloring the slopes white. The number of Easter lilies has decreased due to road maintenance and improvement. The Nago municipal authorities and volunteer groups are planting the flowers.
(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey）
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