Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research2012 Annual Report
1. Release of Prunus ‘Helen Taft’. The introduction of new woody ornamental plants is one of the driving forces behind the sustained growth of the ornamental horticulture industry. Researchers in Washington, D.C. released a new cherry tree variety named for former First Lady Helen Taft to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Japanese gift of cherry trees that now are a celebrated landmark of the nation’s capital. The new variety was created by crossing a Yoshino cherry tree with a Taiwan cherry tree. The Yoshino parent is a clone of a tree originally planted 100 years ago by the Japanese Ambassador’s wife, Iwa Chinda. The new variety can grow to 35 feet in height and width over 30 years and is characterized by large single pale pink flowers. This variety will help to broaden the genetic base of cultivated flowering cherries in the U.S.