Sainsbury's has targeted the potentially lucrative allergy market by introducing a pollen-less lily.

The new variety follows extensive breeding work to produce a lily that retains the colour of the original but has shrunken anthers that do not produce pollen. Other trials had only ended in plants with misshapen flowers and a short life.

Limited volumes will go on sale this summer, with a wider rollout expected next year. The supermarket has described the variety as "the breakthrough the entire flower industry has been looking for", with many shoppers opting against buying cut flowers for fear of the effect on their wellbeing and the difficulty of removing pollen stains from clothes and carpets.

"This could see lilies becoming the UK's biggest-selling household flower a step worth millions to the economy," said Sainbury's flower technologist Robert Honeysett.