The Council of Agriculture (COA) yesterday said it has bred a new species of Siam tulip in the hopes of reinvigorating the local flower industry and developed a paper test kit for detecting orchid viruses.
Native to Thailand and introduced to Taiwan in the late 1970s, the Siam tulip, or Curcuma alismatifolia, is not related to the tulip, but to various ginger species, such as turmeric, the council said, adding that the Siam tulip gets its name from its tulip-like flowering pattern and is one of the most ornamental flowers of the various ginger species; commonly sold as a cut flower that can last for more than 10 days.
The Siam tulip industry in Taiwan bloomed following the introduction of a pink-flowering variety in the late 1970s, but the industry has declined and the flower’s planting areas have reduced to about 5 hectares, the council said.
Photo: Supplied by the Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station
The decline has been linked to extreme weather and serious plant diseases, which have reduced the flower’s quality and farmers’ revenue, the council said, adding that the species available on the market have gradually lost their popularity and are generally only used as religious offerings.
To revive the industry, the council’s Kaohsiung District Agricultural Research and Extension Station has developed a new method of growing Siam tulips in off-ground planters in indoor facilities to reduce pest contact and boost petal quality. The station has also bred a new species of the flower that it says is better adapted to pot culture.
The new species would be named in the near future, after which the council is to develop and promote products based on it.
Separately, the council has developed a screening technology to diagnose orchid pathogens and antigens, which has been transferred to a private biotechnology firm to develop a paper test kit.
The council said it had developed seven kinds of orchid virus reagents, which have been used to screen orchid seeds and seedlings, as well as inspect exported plants.
Taiwan’s orchid industry is a competitive export sector and an elaborate division of labor has been developed: including seed conservation; systematic culturing and taming of wild orchid species; planting management; packaging and marketing, the council said, adding that the new testing kit would improve the supply chain and boost the industry’s competitiveness.
The council said that testing could become an industry given the technologies and patents that Taiwan has developed.
VOTERS’ CHOICE: The DPP’s Chen and independent candidate Huang conceded defeat before 7:20pm, with Chiang pledging to remain humble and do his best Legislator Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) yesterday won the Taipei mayoral election, with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) candidate defeating the Democratic Progressive Party’s (DPP) pick, former minister of health and welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), and former Taipei deputy mayor Vivian Huang (黃珊珊), an independent. After polling stations closed at 4pm, the Taipei Election Commission issued a preliminary estimate that voter turnout in the city was about 64 percent, slightly lower than in 2018. Chiang, 43, is to be the youngest Taipei mayor ever, with the KMT regaining the capital after eight years. Chen had an exceptionally high national approval rating when he was head
FAMILY BACKGROUND: Chiang was effective in running a cautious campaign to avoid making mistakes, waiting for other candidates to slip up, an analyst said Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Taipei Mayor-elect Chiang Wan-an (蔣萬安) stood out among his rivals due to his energy, his die-hard supporters and his relative openness to discuss issues such as same-sex marriage, a political analyst said yesterday. Chiang’s campaign was also aided by his family’s background in politics, which helped him garner greater support in Taipei where there is a large KMT base, said the analyst, who chose to remain anonymous. “Chiang is also not a typical KMT member when it comes to certain issues, such as gay marriage, and his more open stance widened his support base — particularly among young
First-time politician Mai Yamada’s (山田摩衣) Japanese name has attracted attention in Chinese-language media after her win in the New Taipei City Council election on Saturday. Born to a Taiwanese mother and Japanese father, the 32-year-old Taiwanese-Japanese stood out after becoming one of nine elected city councilors in Banciao District (板橋) in the nation’s local government elections on Saturday. Although she has a Japanese name, she grew up and was educated in Taiwan, Yamada said, adding that “Taiwan is my home.” Before running for local government, Yamada, who speaks fluent Japanese and English, was Legislative Speaker You Si-kun’s (游錫堃) secretary. She has been involved in
Mask easing: Teachers are allowed to take their masks off while lecturing indoors, but students should keep theirs on, as COVID-19 measures ease this week The Ministry of Education (MOE) yesterday released new on-campus COVID-19 prevention guidelines, stating that masks can be taken off while exercising, singing, dancing, performing, taking photographs, dining, drinking, video and voice recording, hosting events, presenting speeches and lecturing outdoors. Large outdoor events organized by schools should comply with the mask regulations issued by the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC), it added. The new guidelines came into effect yesterday, and people in Taiwan are no longer required to wear masks outdoors for the first time since May 19 last year. The CECC announced the easing of the mask mandate on Monday, adding that it