Evaluation of Colour Versions of Wild Sage (Salvia nemorosa L.)

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, Debrecen 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.

Flower constancy of honeybees (Apis mellifera L.) to blooming pear plantations

Studies were made on the composition of pollen loads of honeybees captured at the flowers of blooming pear trees in pear plantations. Also the foraging behaviour of honeybees was observed. Overwhelming majority of honeybees visiting the flowers of 13 pear cultivars in 1996 were pollen gatherers (95.6 per cent). Proportion of pure nectar gatherers was as low as some 3.7 per cent and no more than 0.7 per cent performed mixed behaviour. The analysis of pollen loads of bees collected at pear flowers in blooming pear plantations showed that fidelity was as high as 89-90 per cent towards pear, higher than for another fruit species in other studies. Even those plant species that are regarded to be strong competitors of blooming fruit trees in the literature (Taraxacum officinale, Stellaria media, Lamium purpureum) were scarcely represented in the loads. Accordingly, honeybees can be much more important and more effective pollinating agents of pear cultivars than generally believed.