Designer eucalypts destined for overseas market

Monday, 20 July 2015

Beautiful flowering designer eucalypts produced in a University of Adelaide research program could be lining the streets of the US and Europe within a few years.

Based at the University’s Waite campus, the Ornamental Eucalypt Development Program (OEDP) has received $250,000 in funding from the Australian Government under its Entrepreneurs’ Programme, delivered by AusIndustry, and another $250,000 from four industry partners.

The funding will enable the Australian release of the first two selected eucalypts in 2016, continued monitoring of a trial in Spain and the establishment of four trial sites in the US, a key export market.

The researchers, led by University of Adelaide Post-doctoral Fellow Dr Kate Delaporte and Dr Justin Rigden, Commercial Development Manager, have developed a novel way of propagating new varieties of eucalypts from the OEDP that is fast, reliable and enables consistent production of plants with a particular flower colour, size and form.

“These are the first such hybrid ornamental eucalypt trees which can be propagated in this way─by growing clones of the trees in tissue culture,” says Dr Rigden. “The use of tissue culture enables the rapid and reliable production of thousands of plants in a relatively short space of time. It also enables cost-effective shipping in large quantities from the sterile growth media.

“Ornamental eucalypt varieties currently on the market are produced through grafting which can be a less relaible and slower process, limiting the quality and production numbers within Australia and the potential for developing export markets because of quarantine restrictions on plant material which has grown in soil.”

The industry partners are Yuruga Nursery, Humphris Nursery, Australian Horticultural Services and, in the US, Ball Ornamentals.

The researchers say the eucalypts have great potential in the large markets of the US and Mediterranean Europe, as well as in southern Australia as street trees.

In addition to being very decorative (they have been selected for their attractive flowers, buds, leaves and plant habits), the eucalypts offer significant savings through reduced water use and lower maintenance requirements. In Australia they also act as important habitats for native birds and insects.

Established in 1996, the OEDP has been supported by AusIndustry, BioSA, Horticulture Innovation Australia, the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation and the Playford Trust. Further information can be found at http://agwine.adelaide.edu.au/research/plant-physiology/horticulture/eucalypt/

The University’s commercialisation company, Adelaide Research & Innovation Pty Ltd (ARI), is also supporting the commercial development of the OEDP. For more information, visit www.adelaideresearch.com.au.

 

Contact Details

Dr Justin Rigden
Email: justin.rigden@adelaide.edu.au
Commercial Development Manager
Adelaide Research & Innovation
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 4461
Mobile: +61 413 567 114


Ms Robyn Mills
Email: robyn.mills@adelaide.edu.au
Media and Communications Officer
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 6341
Mobile: +61 410 689 084