Tulips are commonly associated with The Netherlands, even though they are native to Central Asia. This association began in 1594 and caused the famous ‘tulipomania’ in the 1600s. This vegetatively propagated crop is currently the most important bulbous geophyte in the world. Modern cultivars (predominantly Tulipa gesneriana) are grown for bulb production, cut flowers, flowering potted plants, and landscaping. The Netherlands and France are the primary tulip bulb producers. Continued breeding and improvement of T. gesneriana focus on disease resistance, improved floral longevity, and new flower shapes/colors. Interspecific hybridization is hampered by reproductive (pre- and post-pollination) and germination barriers (due to incongruity), and long generation times. Crossing barriers have been overcome with the use of techniques such as bud pollination, cut styles, grafted styles, placental pollination, and pollination of isolated ovules. Haploidization and molecular techniques are being used to create homozygous plants and conduct markerassisted breeding, respectively.
KeywordsPollen Tube Ovule Culture Flower Longevity Tulip Bulb Crossing Barrier
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