Queen of Kortovo – a lily straight from the university

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Queen of Kortovo – is the latest Polish variety of lily registered in the Royal Horticultural Society in London. It has been cultivated by Dr. Beata Płoszaj-Witkowska from the Department of Horticulture at the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture.

The certificate confirming the registration of the new Queen of Kortovo variety of lily has been issued by the RHS in London on the 27th January 2016. This document is valid throughout the world. Queen of Kortovo is the first plant registered by UWM in one of the world’s most important horticulture societies.

Lilies are one of the scientific specialties of Dr. Płoszaj-Witkowska. Her works on the new variety of lilies has begun in 2007. For crossbreeding she used two parental forms of the Bornim and Spider varieties.

- I have used these varieties, because I wanted to receive a plant that would be resistant to cold, disease and would be late-blooming – approx. July 15th. Additionally, I didn’t want it to smell – explains Dr. Płoszaj-Witkowska.

Dr. Płoszaj-Witkowska used 50 bulbs of the Bornim variety, as well as the Spider’s pollen. From this “union” she has obtained 30,000 seeds. After their segregation and thorough assessment, she picked 468 seeds with embryos and sowed them in the ground. 200 of them sprouted, 50 of which gave bulbs. 5 of them bloomed in the first year and another 35 in the subsequent years. Among these 35 there was the most important and most beautiful one – Queen of Kortovo.

The scientist does not deny that this accomplishment gives her great satisfaction. In the circle of lily growers, the Royal Horticultural Society certificate is a major achievement.

- I have put many years of hard, largely physical work in lily breeding. Now I have a confirmation that my work has been recognized. What is more, our Kortovo finally has its flower, which can be the city’s decoration and can praise it throughout Poland and not only – ensures Dr. Płoszaj-Witkowska.

Dr. Beata-Płoszaj Witkowska cultivated yet another variety of lilies, which will also be registered at UWM, under the name Kortovo. This variety is resistant to diseases and pests, does not develop multiple fruits, concentrates on bulbs – which prevents the decrease of flowers – and is very high.

Dr. inż. [Dr. Eng.] Beata Płoszaj-Witkowska is an Assistant Professor in the UWM’s Department of Horticulture at the Faculty of Environmental Management and Agriculture. She conducts classes in ornamental plants: flowers, shrubs and trees. Her academic interests relate to in vitro reproduction and the cultivation of i.a. ornamental alliums, lilies and orchids, as well as horticultural therapy, of which she is a forerunner in Poland. She is the head of postgraduate studies in horticultural therapy, and a member of the Association of Producers of bulbous plants in Skierniewice at the Institute of Pomology and Floriculture [Stowarzyszenie Producentów Roślin Cebulowych w Skierniewicach przy Instytucie Sadownictwa i Kwiaciarstwa]. Dr. Płoszaj-Witkowska runs two student scientific circles and is the initiator and co-organizer of the dahlias exhibition in Olsztyn, as well as competitions for the most beautiful flower and composition of dahlias.

Lech Kryszałowicz