Inula project

Inra Sophia Antipolis

The Hanbury Botanical Gardens Institution collaborates to "Project Inula" developed by INRA (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique) - Sophia Antipolis (F). Inside the Hanbury Botanical Gardens there is a population of Inula viscosa (L. Dittrichia viscosa Aiton - fam. Asteraceae) which is regularly monitored according to the protocols of the Project.

The Dittrichia viscosa is a common plant in the Mediterranean known for his role in the cycle of the auxiliary insects that control the fly of Bactrocera oleae one of the major pests of olive groves. The Myopites stylata lays eggs in Inula flowers and the development of the larva of M. stylata leads to the formation of a gall. The larvae of M. stylata can in turn be parasitized by insect parasitoids, particularly of the gender Eupelmus. The gender Eupelmus is known because it is a parasite of the olive fly, Bactrocera oleae.

The Dittrichia viscosa is a natural habitat for many auxiliary insects . However, the role played by this plant species in the process of biological control is currently little known. The objective of this study is to analyze the relationships between the parasitical complex and the phenology of the host plant Dittrichia viscosa. A particular interest will be directed to flowering, being the stage of the plant that favors the presence of populations of Myopites stylata.

This study is performed through two types of observations:

  1. Monitoring the development of Dittrichia viscosa L. at natural state in three sites with different characteristics:
    • Site or Gourdon (hill) (600 m above sea level)
    • Site or INRA (Intermediate) (97 m altitude)
    • Site Hanbury Botanical Gardens (sea)
  2. Monitoring of the evolution of plants of Dittrichia viscosa L. in different growth conditions on the site of the INRA.