Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 9, 2011
Publication Date: November 1, 2011
Citation: Hellier, B.C. 2011. Collecting in Central Asia and the Caucasus: US National Plant Germplasm System Plant Explorations. HortScience. Vol 46(11) p. 1438-1439. Interpretive Summary: This is a proceedings paper of a talk given at the American Society for Horticultural Science 2010 conference in the Genetics and Germplasm Workshop entitled: Horticultural Value of Wild Genetic Resources. The paper describes the mission of the National Plant Germplasm System and the plant exploration program, one mechanism for System curators to fill gaps in their collections. It describes the NPGS’s plant exploration activities in Central Asia and the Caucasus over the past decade. The paper then talks specifically on a mission to Kazakhstan to collect Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz.
Technical Abstract: The USDA-ARS National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) is charged with the preservation of economically important crop plants and their wild relatives. Curators in the System strive to develop collections capturing the genetic diversity of each species. One mechanism for filling gaps in collections is through plant exploration. The USDA-ARS National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Plant Exchange Office administers funding and coordinates plant explorations for the System. In the past decade there have been 38 collecting missions in Central Asia and the Caucasus. This area is rich in plant biodiversity and is a center of diversity for many crop species and their wild relatives. The author has had the opportunity to participate in four explorations in the area focusing on wild crop relatives. This included a trip to Kazakhstan targeting Russian dandelion, Taraxacum kok-saghyz L.E.Rodin, a source of natural rubber. In this mission a total of 22 accessions of T. kok-saghyz and six accessions of other Taraxacum species were collected.