13 December 2005

The University of Queensland’s (UQ) Centre for Native Floriculture (CNF) is privileged to be working with nationally renowned native plant expert Mr David Hockings.

David is a founding member of the Queensland Branch of the Society for Growing Australian Plants. He has worked with native plants throughout his life, including with the Department of Primary Industries & Fisheries where he was based in the horticulture section.

Now semi-retired, David works alongside his wife Olive to collect, breed and propagate novel native floriculture products.

As part of the collaborative work undertaken by the CNF and David, UQ postdoctoral researcher Lilly Lim-Camacho is taking a selection of native flower and foliage products to the United States later this month to conduct research into the potential market for these novel lines.

Dr Lim-Camacho will meet with a number of companies, both wholesale and retail, concentrating on the movement of Australian product through selected supply chains, anticipating that the Australian product she is presenting will be received favourably.

“Although this market is very competitive in terms of pricing, we expect to be able to develop an edge for Australian exports through new and interesting products we have developed through our work at the Centre.” she said.

“Through this work I hope not only to gain a better understanding of this market for Australian products, but also to identify marketable lines from the selection and breeding work that David has completed to date.”

The Centre, based at the University’s Gatton campus was established in 2003 with financial support from the Department of State Development, Trade & Innovation and the University. A primary objective of the CNF is to maximise the economic potential for Queenslanders of Queensland’s indigenous floristic resources.

According to Centre Director Professor Daryl Joyce, the CNF also aims to minimise the impact of flower and foliage harvesting from Queensland’s native forests.

“This aim will be realised through not only working with passionate people like David, but also by improving the plantation-base production and post-harvest handling technology available to the industry as a whole” Daryl said.

“The Centre is developing cultivars, growing and handling technologies, market information, and the knowledge and skills base for successful production and sales of promising native cut flower, potted colour and landscape lines from farm and nursery environments”.

“This work, combined with the market development and research work being undertaken overseas will help drive the industry forward, developing sustainable and profitable native floriculture ventures for the future”

Media inquiries: Susanne Schick - UQ Gatton Campus (5460 1229, 0409 265 587).
Further information/comment: Contact Daryl Joyce (5460 1725).