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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Plant Exploration in tropical forests of Puerto Rico to collect ornamental germplasm.

Authors
item Ayala-Silva, Tomas
item Meerow, Alan
item Goenaga, Ricardo
item Irish, Brian

Submitted to: Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 15, 2007
Publication Date: November 1, 2007
Citation: Ayala Silva, T., Meerow, A.W., Goenaga, R.J., Irish, B.M. 2007. Plant Exploration in tropical forests of Puerto Rico to collect ornamental germplasm.. Proc. Florida State Hort. Soc. 120:4-7.

Interpretive Summary: During May, 2005, an ornamental plant exploration trip was carry out in remainder forests of Puerto Rico. The main focus of this exploration trip was Tabebuia haemantha, a rare Puerto Rican common that has many features of interest to plant growers and hobbist. It is a small tree, evergreen, red-flowered and is largely unknown in gardening. We also looked for improved forms of Tabebuia heterophylla, the common pink tabebuia. This species, widely produced and planted in south Florida, has suffered from a great deal of inbreeding, as local seed sources are continuously used for the production. The species is also currently negatively impacted by a new thrips. We expected that new germplasm from offshore populations of this species may show variable resistance to this pest. In addition, we collected seeds, budwood and cuttings of other genera (Coccoloba, Poitea, Simarouba, Hillia, Turnera, Polygala cowellii ) for evaluation as tropical and subtropical ornamentals. A number of these endemic Puerto Rican plants are endangered or rare in their natural environment. Key words: Tabebuia, Sabinea, evaluation, Coccoloba, Turnera

Technical Abstract: In May, 2005, an ornamental plant exploration trip was conducted in remnant forests of Puerto Rico. The main focus of this collection trip was Tabebuia haemantha, a rare Puerto Rican endemic that has many features of interest to horticulture. It is a small-statured tree, evergreen, red-flowered and is largely unknown in cultivation. We were also interested in looking for improved forms of Tabebuia heterophylla, the common pink tabebuia. This species, widely produced and planted in south Florida, has suffered from a great deal of inbreeding, as local seed sources are continuously used for the production. The species is also currently negatively impacted by a new thrips. We hoped that new germplasm from offshore populations of this species might show variable resistance to this pest. We also collected seeds and cuttings of other genera (Coccoloba, Poitea, Simarouba, Hillia, Turnera, Polygala cowellii ) for evaluation as tropical and subtropical ornamentals. A number of these endemic Puerto Rican plants are threatened or endangered in their natural habitat. Key words: Tabebuia, Sabinea, evaluation, Coccoloba, Turnera

Last Modified: 4/20/2014
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