Clarification of scent components of lisianthus flowers

- Towards the breeding of fragrant lisianthus -

Updated:April 19, 2024 (Friday)

The National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has analyzed the scent components emitted from lisianthus flowers. Various kind of components which is responsible for herbal and sweet scent etc., was identified from the analysis. This research result is the world's first report on the scent components of lisianthus flowers, which are said to be scentless. This provides basic knowledge for breeding lisianthus cultivars with good scent and also exhibits scent as a new attractive feature of lisianthus.


Consumers of cut flowers get attracted mainly by their fragrance, as exemplified by roses. According to research by the Council for Japanese Flower Production and Distribution Enhancement, it was found that when the consumer purchases cut flowers, the scent of cut flowers plays a major role (Survey on consumption behavior regarding flowers and plants (2021)). Lisianthus is one of the predominant domestic cut flowers, characterized by its wide variety of flower colors, flower shapes, and long vase life.

Lisianthus seeds grown in Japan have a high global market share. It is a popular and attractive cut flower not only in Japan but also around the world. On the other hand, the scent of lisianthus is very weak, and most cultivars are recognized no scent. If fragrant lisianthus cultivars are developed in the future, its value is expected to increase further, making it more attractive both domestically and internationally.

Cultivars of Lisianthus with weakly sweet scent is very rare. In order to breed fragrant lisianthus flower, it is necessary to identify the components which is responsible for the sweet scent of lisianthus, and then select cultivars that emit a large amount of these components through cross-breeding. NARO analyzed the scent components of the lisianthus "New Lination White" flowers, which has a weak sweet scent. As a result, 36 types of components were detected. The major identified components are sesquiterpenes such as α-selinene, with herbal scent, and aromatic components such as eugenol with sweet-spicy scent. It has been revealed that the sweet scent of the "New Lination White" is due to aromatic compounds such as eugenol.

Eugenol is also found in the scent of roses and carnations. Hence it serves as an indicator for the breeding of fragrant lisianthus. By breeding lisianthus cultivar with high content of eugenol, we can expect fragrant lisianthus as a cut flower with new appeal.

This result was published in the scientific journal "The Horticulture Journal" (March 12, 2024).


Lisianthus Flowers Emitted Volatile Components Including Iridoids and Actinidine which Attract Cats. Naomi Oyama-Okubo and Naoko Fukuta. The Horticulture Journal. 2024/3/12.

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