Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/7/2003
Publication Date: 5/15/2004
Citation: In search of new plants
Technical Abstract: The U.S. National Arboretum is a research facility and living museum of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service. It's mission is to conduct research, provide education, and conserve and display trees, shrubs, flowers, and other plants to enhance the environment. Research focuses on the development of pest and disease resistance plants with improved landscape and floral quality and new technologies for the floral and nursery industries. Over 650 woody and herbaceous plants have been released from the Arboretum to the American public in cooperation with the nursery and floral industries including introductions of Azalea, Lagerstroemia, Viburnum, Pyracantha, Hibiscus, Ilex, Malus and many others. Tree breeding has resulted in introductions of pest and disease tolerant Ulmus, Acer and Magnolia. Plant exploration, documentation and preservation of wild-origin plant germplasm resources are other important missions carried out by researchers in the unit's Woody Plant Germplasm Repository and Herbarium. Some of the more recent accomplishments of the unit include the discovery and development of natural plant compounds for insect and disease control made from neem oil, the development of genetically engineered virus resistant plants; the development of new floral plants including Eustoma, Ornithogalum, Oxalis, Clematis and Curcuma; and new landscape plants, including disease-tolerant American elms, red maples, a new flowering cherry, 2 miniature hybrid crapemyrtles, a lilac for warmer climates and the Arboretum's first redbud cultivar. Additional information on Arboretum programs in research and education is available at <www.usna.usda.gov>.