New varieties of Philippine native hoya and gumamela are currently being developed by the Institute of Plant Breeding of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB) through the two ongoing projects under the Industry Strategic S&T Program (ISP) for Ornamental Plants. The projects are supported by the Philippine Council for Agriculture, Aquatic and Natural Resources Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCAARRD).
The initiatives aim to improve the competitiveness and marketability of the two ornamental plants considering their high values in the local and international markets.
In a joint virtual meeting, project leader Maria Luisa D. Guevarra reported that 39 species of Philippine native hoyas have been collected from private gardens and hoya collectors in Laguna, Quezon, and Quezon City as well as from online sellers across the country.
The collection was used to develop a comprehensive descriptor list with 114 characters of Philippine native hoyas and evaluate outstanding natural variants. Five accessions (two Hoya pubicalyx and three Hoya mindorensis) were selected as potential varieties for National Seed Industry Council (NSIC) registration in hopes of commercial production.
The project also attempted 530 interspecific crosses for the development of Hoya hybrids and used embryo rescue techniques for less viable seeds.
Meanwhile 100 new varieties were collected by the Gumamela project, including eight petite Hibiscus rosa-sinensis and five Hibiscus species (i.e. H. sabdariffa, H. acetosella, H. schizopetalus, H. syriacus, and H. grandiflorus) sourced from various plant nurseries in the country.
Project leader Agripina O. Rasco announced two NSIC-approved varieties: Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Leonor Magtolis Briones,’ named after the Department of Education (DepEd) secretary, and Hibiscus rosa-sinensis ‘Filomena Fortich Campos,’ named after an esteemed Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Professor.
Plant breeding experts, Fernando B. Aurigue from the DOST-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (PNRI) and Reynold B. Pimentel from Del Monte Philippines, Inc. (DMPI), served as technical evaluators and assessed the year 1 accomplishments of the projects. They also gave their recommendations to further the outcomes of the initiatives.
Present also in the virtual meeting were the researchers from UPLB and staff from DOST-PCAARRD Crops Research Division (CRD) headed by its OIC Director, Dr. Allan B. Siano and ISP Manager for Ornamental Plants Kimberly Zarah B. Locsin.