Improvement of Lavender Varieties by Manipulation of Chromosome Number

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The report describes the development of improved varieties of lavender (L. angustifolia) and lavandin (L. x intermedia) specifically for commercial oil production. Using conventional propagation and micro-propagation techniques together with treatment of plant tissue with the mitotic spindle inhibitor colchicine, chromosome numbers in these plants were increased. This report describes the preliminary morphological, oil quality and quantity analysis from some of the plants produced. Australia produces less than 1% of the world’s oil and imports approximately 90% of lavender oil consumed. Climatically there is huge potential for Australia to become a key world oil producer and it is hoped provision of this new germplasm to Australian lavender growers will improve the economics of oil production and encourage broad-acre production of high quality lavender and lavandin oils.

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