Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 19, 2012
Publication Date: June 1, 2012
Citation: Sakhanokho, H.F., Witcher, A.L., Pounders Jr, C.T., Spiers, J. 2012. 'Ramata': a new dwarf and variegated Hedychium J. Koenig cultivar. HortScience. 47(6):803-805. Interpretive Summary: A new dwarf (about 2 feet tall) ornamental ginger cultivar, ‘Ramata’, with variegated foliage was released by scientists at the USDA-ARS Southern Horticultural Laboratory, Poplarville,Mississippi. Leaf variegation in this new Hedychium cultivar is extremely stable. This is the first ornamental ginger cultivar that combines both dwarfism and stable variegation, two highly desired but rare traits in hedychiums. ‘Ramata’ has a compact growth habit and is well suited to a variety of landscapes uses such as a specimen plant, contrast in mixed planters, and in smaller gardens. Flowers of ‘Ramata’ are mildly fragrant.
Technical Abstract: A new dwarf (~71 cm) variegated Hedychium cultivar, ‘Ramata’, was developed at the USDA-ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticultural Laboratory (TCSHL), Poplarville. A potted ‘Ramata’ plant produces multiple pseudostems, originating from the rhizome, giving it a compact appearance. ‘Ramata’ originated from a variegated somaclone plantlet that was selected in 2007 among the regenerated populations derived from somatic embryos of Hedychium muluense plants. The selected plantlet was micropropagated and plants subsequently transferred to the greenhouse and field at the USDA-ARS TCSHL in Poplarville, MS, where they were evaluated for 4 years under both greenhouse and outdoor conditions. Plants were also sent to collaborating universities and commercial nurseries for evaluation. Flowers of ‘Ramata’ are smaller than those of many Hedychium species; they are mildly fragrant and produce little to no pollen. Because of their smaller size and compact growth habits, 'Ramata' plants would be well suited to small residential landscapes. The uniqueness of ‘Ramata’ resides in its small size (~ 71 cm compared to 1.5 – 2 m for most hedychium cultivars), compact growth habit, and extremely stable leaf variegation.