Commercially cultivated vanilla (V. planifolia) is native to Mexico and its cultivation and breeding programmes face major bottlenecks. This study reports presence of important agronomic characters in two important and endangered species of Vanilla, V. aphylla and V. pilifera, indigenous to India. V. aphylla was tolerant to Fusarium wilt and had longer flower life than the cultivated vanilla. V. pilifera flowers were fragrant, showed signs of insect pollination and had large fruit size. The species were amenable to interspecific hybridization and successful reciprocal crosses were done. Sequence similarity studies indicated the clustering of leafy and leafless species separately.
Part of the book: Herbs and Spices