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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Research Project #427593

Research Project: Establishment of a Long-term Research Project to Evaluate New England’s Indigenous Serviceberries (Amelanchier spp.)

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Project Number: 8020-21000-157-01-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2014
End Date: Aug 31, 2019

To evaluate wild-collected Amelanchier (serviceberry) accessions for resistance to cedar rusts, horticultural potential, and nutrient phenolics profile, and to provide this data and germplasm to GRIN and the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS). A second objective is to evaluate propagation, horticultural merit, invasiveness, and genetic diverstiy of Lonicera villosa and L. caerulea. This research will also focus on collecting wild accessions of several priority woody genera for the National Arboretum.

Accessions of Eastern taxa of Amelanchier collected from at least one locality for each of eight species indigenous to New England will be deposited in the Woody Plant Germplasm Repository at the U.S. National Arboretum. Passport data, including GPS coordinates for all species, and vouchers if available, will be included. These new accessions, as well as those already available through the NPGS, will be compared with commercial cultivars of Amelanchier alnifolia, A. laevis, and A. canadensis. Ornamental characteristics will be evaluated in a common environment at the Collaborator's Littlefield Ornamental Trials Garden for stem elongation; flower phenology, abundance, size, and color; fruit phenology, abundance, size, color, and longevity; autumn coloration of leaves; and plant form. Fruit traits to be evaluated include size, quality, Brix (sugar content), titratable acidity, total phenolic acids, and total anthocyanins via colormetric assays. Seedlings will be screened for disease resistance by inoculating seedlings in the greenhouse with spores of Gymnosporangium. Additionally, plants randomized in the Lyle E. Littlefield Ornamental Trials Garden will be evaluated for incidence of commercially significant diseases. At least five accessions of native Lonicera villosa will be deposited in the WLPGR. These accessions and other species from NPGS will be evaluated for ornamental, ecophysiological, and invasive potential. We will also develop and use microsatellite (SSR) markers to examine population genetic structure and diversity of accessions. Seed of the following species will be collected from wild sources, documented by herbarium vouchers, and passport data supplied, including GPS coordinates: Quercus macrocarpa, Cornus canadensis, Fraxinus sp, Cornus alternifolium, Viburnum dentatum, Viburnum lentago, Viburnum nudum, Ilex mucronata, Ilex verticillata. Seed will be sent to the Woody Landscape Plant Germplasm Repository for long-term preservation.