Ornamentals are of growing importance in the crop diversification policy of most Caribbean countries. Cut flowers, including anthuriums, alpinias and helicopnias are considered to have considerable potential as an export commodity. In the French Antilles, the development ofornamental production in the early seventies was based on anthuriums. This flower was leading the export market until 1983 whenthe accidental introduction of bacterial blight tXanthomonascompestris pv diffenbochiae) practically destroyed thewhole crop. After developing preventative measures to control the disease, a breeding progranune was initiated for resistance to the pathogen. In 1995. resistance in one anthurium clone growing in a shade-house was identified. The high level of this resistance was confirmed by inoculating the plants with a baeterium strain, representative ofthe local population of the pathogen. The resistant clone can easily be erossed with the commercial cultivars, so that it will be possible to breed varieties which meet the demands of both the export and local markets.


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