New Redbud to Grace
October 20, 2000
Agricultural Research Service scientists
have released to commercial breeders the first new redbud cultivar developed in
the Floral and Nursery
Plants Unit at the U.S.
National Arboretum, Washington, D.C. The new cultivar, Don
Egolf, is a variety of Cercis chinensis, or Chinese redbud. It was
named for the late Dr. Donald Egolf, who was a respected breeder and plantsman
at the Arboretum for over 30 years.
The seed was originally collected from cultivated plants growing around the
city of Kunming, the capital of Chinas Yunnan province. Many researchers
interested in collecting plant germplasm travel to China because its climate is
similar to that of many parts of the United States.
The new redbuds profusion of rosy-purple flowers, compact structure,
ease of propagation, seedlessness, and apparent high tolerance to
Botryosphaeria dothidia canker have made it a welcome newcomer to
nurseries across the country. Since 1994, cooperating nurseries throughout the
eastern, southern, and midwestern United States have evaluated Don
Egolf and given it high praise. Its ease of propagation by rooted
cuttings is an especially valuable trait because redbud cultivars are
notoriously difficult to propagate. Because the cultivar is seed-sterile, it
produces no fruit, which enhances the shrubs appearance during winter.
The new redbud has a compact, vase-shaped, multi-stemmed structure and is
hardy in USDA zones 6-9. Its dark-green, pest-resistant leaves turn yellow in
autumn. The prolific bloom, structure, and foliage of Don Egolf
make it well suited as a specimen plant, as a part of mixed plantings, or as a
highlight at the edge of woodland plantings.
The new Don Egolf redbud cultivar is currently in the possession
of wholesale growers who anticipate making the new redbud available to
retailers by 2001-2002. Genetic material will also be deposited in the
National Plant Germplasm System and
made available for research and for developing and commercializing new
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agricultures principal scientific research agency.
Scientific contact: Margaret R. Pooler, ARS
Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit, Beltsville, Md., phone (202) 245-4568,
fax (202) 245-4579, firstname.lastname@example.org.