Shanghai botanical garden's lotus varieties get protection

LMS| Updated: May 25, 2023

Three new varieties of lotus flowers bred by researchers from the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden – located in East China's Shanghai city – have been granted new plant variety protection rights recently.

This is the first time that the new varieties of lotuses bred by the botanical garden have received national protection rights, which will provide legal support for their conservation and promotion.

The three new varieties – named Bianlian, Fuyuanxiuyu and Shuangranhonglou – were included on the list of the second batch of new plant varieties in 2023, announced on April 21 by the office of new plant variety protection at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs.


A radiant example of Bianlian, a new lotus variety developed by the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyou]

They were developed by the garden's ornamental plant resources and innovative utilization research group. It used artificial hybridization and made a careful selection of excellent plants from the wild and cultivated lotus resources collected from domestic and overseas sources.

According to the Seed Law of China, new plant varieties refer to plant varieties that are artificially bred or improved from wild plants found in the national plant variety protection list – and have novelty, distinctness, uniformity, stability and a proper naming.

The three new varieties are all hybrids of the Asian lotus (Nelumbo nucifera) and the American lotus (Nelumbo lutea). Bianlian is a rare color-changing variety that produces flowers with different shades of red, pink and white during its blooming period. Fuyuanxiuyu and Shuangranhonglou are both red double-petal varieties with unique flower shapes and colors.


A magnificent flowering Shuangranhonglou, another of the new lotus varieties introduced by the garden. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyou]

The botanical garden has established a 5,000-square-meter national lotus germplasm resource bank, certified by the China Flower Association. It has been recognized by the International Waterlily & Water Gardening Society as an international Nelumbo germplasm resource bank.

It has collected and preserved more than 1,200 wild lotus and variety resources from China and other countries such as the United States, Thailand, India, Vietnam, Australia and Japan – making it the largest, most diverse and representative lotus resource bank in the world.

The ornamental plant resources and innovative utilization research group was established in 2011. Under the leadership of researcher Tian Daike – and with the support of project resources from various parties such as the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Shanghai government and enterprises – it carries out global investigations, collections, ex situ conservations and comprehensive evaluations of lotus resources.


A joy to behold: a Fuyuanxiuyu, a new lotus variety developed by the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden. [Photo/WeChat account: sheshanlvyou]

As a result, it has not only bred dozens of superb new varieties of lotuses but has also deepened its understanding of resource diversity and hybrid trait inheritance laws. Experts say it has made remarkable achievements in the rational protection and development of Nelumbo resources.

The peak flowering period of lotuses is from July to August, when visitors can savor the beauty of these fairy-like flowers to the max at the Shanghai Chenshan Botanical Garden.