The development and commercial release of the novel coloured blue kangaroo paw Anigozanthos ‘Masquerade’ has led to funding by the Australian Research Council ($500,000) and the Friends of Kings Park ($125,000) for a research project to identify these unique colour compounds and the metabolic pathways that produce them.
The project, led by Dr David Field from Edith Cowan University, and Dr Siegy Kraus and Digby Growns from Kings Park, will provide significant outcomes for both the conservation of the genus and their development as ornamental garden plants.
The research will for the first time map the entire genome of two species of Anigozanthos, the red and green kangaroo paw A. manglesii and the green kangaroo paw A. viridis. This globally significant research will allow scientists to follow the sequence in colour expression and other morphological traits which will in turn lead to an in-depth understanding of the evolution of colour in natural populations, including rare colour variations, and their impact on pollination and population dynamics.
This new knowledge will also enable horticultural programs to efficiently breed varieties with desirable and highly marketable new colours.
This project will not only develop new scientific insights and techniques but also inspire more research into Australian plants.