In the continental weather zone, more and more frequently occurring extreme conditions require continuous renewal of the market which generates constant challenge for the ornamental plant breeders. Most of the traditionally used decorative ornamental plants are sensitive to these extreme conditions. In 2001, Department of Plant Biotechnology, D...ebrecen University initiated an interdisciplinary breeding program in collaborations with Zoltan Kovats (he dealt with hungarian drought-tolerant plant species) to produce new or reintroduce forgotten drought-tolerant ornamental species into public parks and roadsides. From ~900 species of Salvia genus, Salvia nemorosa L. has been known as a medical plant, however, because of its high adaptation ability and decorative nature it is a highly recommended ornamental plant as well. Salvia nemorosa L. has a low maintenance, extremely droughttolerant, fast growing plant, generates proper cover, and highly competing weeds on roadsides. Nowadays, 50-60 varieties are available; however this number could be increased by new hybrids. Great morphological and colour variation could be seen within the species, from different white to deep violet. The main goal of this research is the production of elite lines with wide colour and morphological variation in wild sage. We have already obtained 25 different clones for further investigation without eliminating the original plants generating an in vitro gene bank as it has been done by Italian breeders.
We conducted experiments for developing an in vitro micropropagation protocol starting from meristems of Rudbeckia hirta L seedlings. We pre-soaked the seeds in sterile ion-exchanged water for 17 hours, and then achieved surface disinfection in two separate steps. First, we used concentrated household sodium-hypochloride solut...ion for 20 minutes and, also for 20 minutes, we applied hydrogen peroxide of 10%, which was followed by washing with sterile ion-exchanged water three times. For the propagation of seedling meristems, the combination of half-strenght solid Murashige and Skoog (1962) culture medium containing 10 mg/1 of kinetin or 2 mg/I of kinetin + 0.1 mg/1 of 2iP proved to be the most suitable. The average number of shoot-buds developed from the seedling axillary meristem in the best culture media varied between 5 and 17. Without separating them, we inoculated the shoot-bud clusters on MS culture medium containing 2 mg/1 of IAA. After four weeks of incubation we obtained elongated shoots which we separated and inoculated into a new culture medium and we obtained elongated roots. The rooted plants were gradually acclimatised in the cultivation room, potted and carried to a greenhouse, and then planted in open field for subsequent observation. By adopting this method, our laboratory started the micropropagation of the superior and/or elite genotypes of the Rudbeckia hirta L. being of special value in respect of breeding.