DHMI is mainly known around the world for its Mandevilla breeding program but the R&D department of Lannes Group works on a variety of plants and projects as well. For example, they developed the Breeder Protector® to prevent illegal propagation and also introduced over 10 varieties of Hibiscus. In this article, we are chatting with Erick Ciraud, Marketing and Business Development Manager DHMI, who gives us an insight into their activities and achievements.
DHMI stands for Dipladenia, Hibiscus, Mandevilla and Innovation
The company’s acronym is already a mission statement itself, explains Erick Ciraud. “It stands for Dipladenia, Hibiscus, Mandevilla and Innovation.” The focus of their breeders is on Mandevilla/Dipladenia and that’s also what the company is known for. But why aren’t they using only the word Mandevilla? “To avoid any confusion, we are talking about the Mandevilla genus, as it was defined by the famous American botanist Robert Woodson in 1933. From this date, Dipladenia genus disappeared and was renamed Mandevilla. However, growers and distributors still differentiate Mandevilla from Dipladenia, based on phenotypic differences. Mandevilla have large leaves and flowers and vine vigorously. Dipladenia have smaller leaves and flowers.”
DHMI has also been working on Hibiscus rosa sinensis for over 10 years and has brought outstanding varieties to the market mainly in Australia and the US. “The focus of this breeding program is to select Hibiscus based on their garden performance. DHMI, in association with partners will shortly release a new line of Hibiscus. “It will be a great addition to the ‘annual’ market segment.”
Diamantina® Opal ‘Citrine 2.0’
A good example of innovation: Diamantina® Opal ‘Citrine’
Innovation is the action to bring new and outstanding varieties to the market, explains Erick Ciraud. “It highlights the ability of DHMI’s team to move a variety from its successive selection phases to a finished plant stage that generates revenues for the whole business chain.”
DHMI has multiple examples of its capacity to innovate, but the most outstanding one is the first Mandevilla with yellow flowers ever introduced to the market, known as Diamantina® Opal ‘Citrine’. “This variety has changed the traditional Mandevilla consumer’s buying habits. DHMI had to define a new production protocol for this variety as the interspecific breeding origin made it a stand-alone cultivar, compared to standard Mandevilla. From the tissue culture production phase to mother plant stock maintenance, not to mention the rooting phase, all aspects of the production had to be rethought.” Opal ‘Citrine’ was first introduced in 2011. An improved variety was introduced in 2020. “And the story continues,” he adds.
More than breeding – Breeder Protector
On top of plant innovation, DHMI also provides services related to plant breeding. Several years ago, they introduced the Breeder Protector® program, a system to prevent, check and trace illegal propagation in Europe. According to Erick Ciraud, unrooted cuttings are inserted through a little plastic ring (Breeder protector) by the propagator. The ring guarantees the authenticity of the plant and assists in controlling illegal propagation. Breeder Protector is patented in the European Union and has received several awards since its introduction.
Diamantina® Quartz Pink & Yellow and Diamantina® Emerald ‘Amber Star’
Difference between creativity and innovation
So what difference do you make between creativity and innovation? Erick Ciraud: “Creativity is an act of thinking differently which goes with the freedom to think differently. The idea is not to stay away from market data and detailed marketing analysis. At the end of the day, creativity has to pay off. However, the freedom to question standards and conventional thinking is a real asset for an R&D team.”
In that respect, DHMI makes thousands of breedings every year. It uses some guidelines of course, the experience of what works and what does not work is fundamental, but the breeding team is intrepid enough to breed unexpected varieties one with another.”
The following video shows how far DHMI is going. “When creativity meets innovation, success is shared by all. A true goal for us!”