The main objective of the botanical gardens today is the conservation of biological diversity ex situ, allowing for the potential loss of this because of the destruction of the environment. However, in the past the main activity of the botanical gardens was the buildup and maintenance of diversity that explorers brought back from unexplored regions, near and far, in order to make them available to growers that they would explore the potential that plants collected. Much of ornamental crops are now widely grown were developed in this way, including palms and hedges, and some flowers such as roses and orchids. There is always the risk of biodiversity loss and this in turn would deprive us of finding its possible application for the benefit of mankind, however, the work of botanic gardens is essential for conservation and to develop the process of domestication some plants that would otherwise have gone unnoticed.
Currently it is estimated that the diversity of plants in the world exceeds 250 000 species, of which only 7000 are cultivated by humans as food, fiber, medicine, forage, with a greater or lesser degree of domestication, excluding ornamental plants, which could reach more than 28,000 cultivated species, although their number continues to increase (Khoshbakht and Hammer, 2008). Of these crops, the most important are cereals and their domestication took place several thousand years ago and probably some ornamental species that accompanied them became part of the crops that the first cloned human populations with aesthetic concerns (Heywood , 2002).
From the great diversity cultivated by humans, 6.5 million varieties have been preserved over 1,400 ex situ conservation systems, but these a...
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...nservation and use of (Ornamental) Genetic Resources. Acta Horticulturae 760:589-595.
Facciuto, G, Pannunzio, MJ, Coviella, A. Bologna, P, Soto, S, Imhof, L & M Borja. 2007. Calibrachoa breeding advances in Argentina. Acta Horticulturae 813.
Golding, J, Güsewell, S, Kreft, H, Kuzevanov, VY, Lehvävirta, S, Parmentier, I & M Pautasso. 2010. Species-richness patterns of the living collections of the world’s botanic gardens: a matter of socio-economics? Ann. Bot. 105:689–696.
Heywood, V. 2002. Conservation and sustainable use of wild species as sources of new ornamentals. Acta Horticulturae 508:43-53.
Khoshbakht K & K Hammer. 2008. How many plant species are cultivated? Genet Resour Crop Evol 55:925–928.
Tay, D. 2007. Herbaceous ornamental plant germplasm conservation and use. In Anderson, NO (ed.) Flower Breeding and Genetics. Springer. Pp. 113-175.
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