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THE ORIGIN OF GARDEN PLANTS AND THE FSU CONTRIBUTION

The Central Asian Center


The main area of the Central Asian Center includes the mountainous regions of the Central Asian Republics (the former "Soviet Middle Asian Republics" according to S. Hollis & R.K. Brummitt) and part of Afghanistan. The entire area is included in the Iranian-Turanian Floristic Region, covering some floristic provinces of the Western Asiatic and the Central Asiatic Floristic Subregions. In Vavilov's estimation, this area was so significant that he rated it as third in overall importance to agriculture. However, regarding ornamental species, the area is so far of less importance. Even when the plains of Central Asia are included, only about 130, or 2.5% of all ornamental species, can be considered natives of this range. This area is the natural habitat for oriental plane (Platanus orientalis), black mulberry (Morus nigra) and an abundance of crab apples (Malus spp.). Some plants are grown in greenhouses and indoors in the northern temperate zone, but some commercially important species are hardy outdoors, even in the north.

Examples of the latter are the water-lily tulip (Tulipa kaufmanniana) and some other tulip species (T. fosteriana, T. greigii). Natives of Central Asia include Allium karatawiense, Colchicum luteum, desert candle or foxtail lily (Eremurus) and others.

THE ORIGIN OF GARDEN PLANTS
 
 
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