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"Lian Xiang"

New cultivar created to save Taiwanese strawberry industry

Some thirty years ago, Taiwan modified temperate zone strawberries to make them suitable for cultivation. However, winter is becoming warmer and warmer and as a result, there is now a shortage of seedlings. Farmers are suffering huge losses.

Now, the Miaoli District Agricultural Research and Extension Station has developed a new, more heat-resistant cultivar named "Lian Xiang." The fruit is shaped like an egg, is as sweet as Japanese strawberries and is therefore regarded as a dream cultivar.

Lian Xiang strawberries grow just one to a stem. They retain their shape no matter how large they grow and have a strong fragrance. It took researchers six years to develop the cultivar, which are less susceptible to heat damage than traditional strawberry cultivars. They are better able to withstand higher temperatures during the seedling phase. It also has a Brix sweetness value of 16.5. This means they are as sweet as peaches and as high in quality as Japanese strawberries.

Imports account for 30 percent of Taiwan's strawberry consumption. The council hopes the new cultivar will make a splash on both the domestic and overseas markets. The cultivar's plant variety right has already been approved and according to¸ the strawberries could be available by Chinese New Year next year.

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