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The NC-7 Website: A New Way to Find Woody Ornamentals

By Hank Becker
September 18, 2000

For gardeners in North Central states, information on desirable new trees, shrubs, vines and ground covers to plant is as nearby as their computers. The NC-7 web site has extensive information on more than 175 kinds of woody plants with potential ornamental use.

Agricultural Research Service scientists at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa, created the web site, which includes information on several maples, hydrangeas, rhododendrons, spireas, viburnums and weigelas. How these plants look and perform, evaluations of their aesthetic and adaptive characteristics, and other details are included on the web site.

The data comes from a cooperative project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and 12 state agricultural experiment stations in the north-central United States. The scientists who conduct the horticultural project at the station gather and disseminate the data.

Since 1954, over 550 accessions have been distributed for evaluation and testing to participating cooperators at 36 trial sites. About 50 percent of these were trees, both evergreen and deciduous, and 40 percent were shrubs. The rest were vines, ground covers and herbaceous perennials.

The NC-7 web site ( includes an overview of the trials, a list of the regional cooperators, plant descriptions, evaluation summaries, tables of the 10-year evaluation data collected and compiled from the cooperators, and pictures of many of the plants.

For more details, see the September 2000 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.

ARS is USDA’s chief research arm. The NC-7 project is part of a nationwide program of horticultural research within ARS. For more information on other ARS research programs that impact on horticulture, see the list of "Crop Production, Product Value and Safety" national programs at:

Scientific contact: Mark P. Widrlechner and A. Paul Ovrom, ARS North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station, Ames, Iowa, phone (515) 294-3511/3454, fax (515) 294-1903, [Widrlechner], [Ovrom].