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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Herbarium-Based Investigation of Ornamental Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit

2013 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Investigate the taxonomy and characteristics of plant species grown as ornamentals in the Pacific Northwest, and provide herbarium resources for the National Arboretum, the University of Washington, and cooperating institutions to support and enhance future scientific study of the cultivated ornamental plants of this area.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
A collector or collectors employed by the University of Washington will prepare herbarium specimens from as many species as possible that are grown as ornamental plants in the region around Seattle and (if deemed desirable) elsewhere in the Pacific Northwest. For each species encountered in appropriate condition for herbarium collecting, one herbarium specimen will be collected for the National Arboretum herbarium, one specimen for the University of Washington Horticulture herbarium, and (when possible) up to four additional specimens to be used for exchange with the herbaria of other cooperating institutions.

Data collected will include the location of the plant, the provenance of the germplasm (when known), significant characters that may not be permanently preserved with the specimen (such as growth form, odor, color of flowers and fruit). Brief notes may also be made of any evidence noted of spontaneous reproduction in the vicinity of the planting, of heavy damage that might be caused by disease, insects, or abiotic factors, and any other available data that may provide insight into the biology or ornamental value of the plants in the site.

The University of Washington PI will identify an appropriate collector or collectors to carry out the collecting. The collector(s) will be trained in techniques for collecting herbarium specimens and supervised by the University of Washington PI. Unmounted herbarium specimens with the data recorded on appropriate, archival-quality labels will be supplied to the herbaria: one complete set to the University of Washington Herbarium, and one complete set plus exchange sets to the herbaium of the U.S. National Arbortum.


3.Progress Report:

Herbarium specimens of cultivated plants have been collected from both public and private gardens that have been selected to reflect maximum diversity of ornamental plants cultivated in the Pacific Northwest. From Oct. 1, 2012 through early June 2013, 280 different taxa were collected, with 2-4 specimens per taxon. Collecting sites included gardens throughout western Washington that maintain diverse collections of interest to the National Arboretum and the University of Washington Department of Horticulture. These included the Washington Park Arboretum, CUH gardens, the Miller Garden, the Bellevue Botanic Garden, the Otis Douglas Hyde Garden, Far Reaches Farm Nursery, and the Rhododendron Species Garden. The Cooperator has just hired a summer collector to work on this project, and arrangements are being made to sample additional important collections before the end of the fiscal year.

Material due to the National Arboretum from this SCA is being forwarded to the National Arboretum as labeling and processing of the specimens has been completed. One specimen of each species is being deposited in the herbarium of the National Arboretum, where it will be used for research on cultivated plants grown in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. An additional set of specimens is being deposited in the Otis Douglas Hyde Horticultural Herbarium at the University of Washington Botanic Gardens Center for Urban Horticulture, where it will support their research on ornamental plants of the Pacific Northwest. Duplicates will be exchanged with other collaborating institutions, strengthening National Arboretum collaborations with other institutions and bringing in herbarium material of additional species via the exchange.


Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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