President’s charm invades plant kingdom with ‘Neoregelia Rody Duterte’

EVEN the plant kingdom embraced the coming of change. The International Bromeliad Society (IBS) has officially recognized the “Neoregelia Rody Duterte” as the newest Neoregelia hybrid named after Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.

IBS is the only international cultivar registration authority for Bromeliads and appointed by the International Society for Horticultural Science Commission for nomenclature and cultivar registration.  To date, there are 5,000 species.

Originated in the Davao City, the President’s home city, the Neoregelia Rody Duterte, with bromeliad cultivar number 13584, is a product of 4-5 years of passionate breeding by local plant breeder Ziegfred “Bebot” Onari.

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‘NEOREGELIA Rody Duterte’ personifies the President’s colorful and strong character with a heart. Photo Credit: Joan Onari

“The letter [of approval] sent to us in June 30 by the IBS was very timely as it was in time of the inauguration of our President,” said Onari’s wife Joan.

“Three years ago, we asked the permission of Ma’am Elizabeth (Duterte) to name the variety after the Mayor now President Rody Duterte as the plant personifies his strong and colorful personality with a heart,” Onari said.

The new Bromeliad hybrid had a pink leaves with fiery pink central cup. When it matures, the open rosette has a diameter of 50 mm x 30 cm high with a broad, black-spinned.  It has bronze green leaves with black sepia tips and reddish-brown concentric cross-branding and a heart at its tip.  Its distinct sepia stripes in its leaves can be associated with the President’s striking and unique persona.

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PLANT breeder Ziegfred Onari checks on his Bromeliad collections in his farm in Marilog District. Photo Credit: Tommy Iñigo

The Neoregelia Rody Duterte has the best characteristics of its seed parent Neoregelia Ninja cultivar hybridized by Shiigi in 1979 and the pollen parent is Neoregelia Norman Bates by world renowned breeded Chester Skotak in 2003.

The Bromeliads are a family of flowering plants (relative of pineapple family) with 5,000 registered cultivar hybrids in its genus. Their attractive and long lasting leaves and flowers give high ornamental and landscaping value.

Onari said the IBS certification is a big boost to the country’s floriculture industry and inspire them to continue developing endemic and indigenous plants that can be at par with the best species in the world.

With the rising popularity of Pres. Duterte in the global community, the IBS in its website said “plant lovers, garden enthusiasts, bromeliad connoisseurs from all over the world are busy and going crazy to add Neoregelia Rody Duterte in their must have list.”

Onari clarified and allayed fears of enthusiasts and hobbyists that bromeliad can be a breeding ground for dengue-causing mosquitoes. A study from University of Florida also showed that of 78 mosquitos’ species in Florida, none were associated with bromeliads. In Singapore, they are even investing millions of dollars to include bromeliads in their landscaping as it helps in cushion the impact of global warming.

Having been engaged in the floriculture business since 1990s, Onari said their noble intention is to help sustain the industry. “Before we seek government support, we need to show what we have done and what we can do. Just like what the President said, change must begin within us,” she said. (Noel T. Provido/DAXI)

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