A POPULAR garden centre is backing the Scotland football team in this summer’s European Championship by growing a plant that has TARTAN coloured leaves.

Now plans are being made for Tartan Army fans to take hundreds of these plants with them to the tournament, in Germany.

Scotland play Germany in the Euro’s opening game, on June 14, in Munich and supporters aim to transform the famous English Garden public park in the city into the Scottish Garden by planting the tartan foliage in its flower beds.

The unique tartan plant has been secretly developed by horticulturists at Cardwell Garden Centre, near Gourock, working with renowned Spanish gardening expert, Professor Raol Di Folpays.

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And the plant has been registered by it’s Latin name, Tartanium Hilaria with the International Cultivar Registration Authority.

Plant leaves get their colours from four types of pigments – chlorophylls, anthocyanins, carotenoids and betalains.

As Professor Raol Di Folpays explains: “The different colours in the Tartanium Hilaria leaves have been created after a painstaking programme of genetic modification by Cardwell’s plant experts.

“They were able to target the four pigments and modify their biosynthetic pathways with the introduction of new genes, overexpression and silencing of specific gene segments.

“The horticulturists at Cardwell have done a wonderful job to create the world’s first tartan-coloured plant leaves.”

The National:

Spokesperson for the West of Scotland Tartan Army, Hamish Husband said: “Having one of these plants with tartan leaves on display in your home is a great way to support our national football team competing in the Euros.

“The staff at Cardwell Garden Centre has to be congratulated on their horticultural expertise in creating the Tartanium Hilaria plant.

“As soon as news of this amazing experiment came out, supporters from the Tartan Army came up with the idea of planting hundreds of Tartanium Hilaria in Munich’s English Garden, so for at least for the duration of the tournament it will become the Scottish Garden.”

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Retail general manager at Cardwell Garden Centre, Paul Carmichael said: “We’ve definitely scored a winner with this amazing plant, as it’s extremely popular with the Tartan Army.

“We wanted to do something to support Scotland in the Euros and we chose the Royal Stewart tartan for the first of our plants. We’re now hoping to develop the science further, so that people can choose their own clan tartan on the leaves of Tartanium Hilaria.”

Cardwell Garden Centre has a limited number of these tartan plants on sale until noon today, April 1.