Submitted to: Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/3/2004
Publication Date: 10/31/2004
Citation: Newman, M.L. aka Harrison Dunn, M.L. The status of native grass material held in the usda warm-season grass germplasm collection. 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium, Oct 3-6, 2004. Interpretive Summary: The USDA National Plant Germplasm System warm-season grass collection which is maintained in Griffin, Georgia currently has over 6000 different entries of grasses-many of which are native grasses. The native grasses have been collected from different areas of the United States by various people dating back to the 1950's. Some grasses that are in the collection include big bluestem, sand bluestem, side oats grama, blue grama, black grama, grama grass, little bluestem, yellow bluestem, silver bluestem, switchgrass and Indian grass. As more people become interested in native grasses, the need to add new material to the collection becomes more important. Also having better information to describe the material becomes more important. Our site will focus on increasing the quality of seed harvested from these grasses and the collection of more detailed and useful information about these grasses. We also hope to add new native grasses to the collection through the donation of seed from people who go on native grass collecting trips.
Technical Abstract: The USDA National Plant Germplasm System warm-season grass collection, which is maintained in Griffin, Georgia, currently has over 6,000 different accessions of which less than ten percent of the collection can be classified as native grass material. This native material has been collected from different areas of the United States by various cooperators dating back to the 1950's. The species maintained include Andropogon gerardii, A. hallii, Bouteloua dactyloides, B. gracilis, B. eriopoda, B. curtipendula, B. magapotamica, schizachyrium scoparium, Bothriochloa ischaemum, B. laguroides, Panicum virgatum and Sorghastrum nutans. The collection of yellow bluestem, schizachyrium scoparium, is the largest with 236 accessions, followed by side oats grama, bouteloua curtipendula with 75 accesions. The remaining species are represented by only 20 or fewer accessions each. Accessions of yellow bluestem include Aldous, Pastura, Blaze, Cimarron and a Badlands ecotype. The material maintained for yellow bluestem has been exclusively collected from the United States from sites including Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wyoming. Accessions of side oats grama include El Reno, Trailway, Butte, Vaughn, Coronado, Tucson, Haskell, Killdeer, Pierre, Uvalde, and Niner. The majority of the side oats grama accessions were collected from the United States from numerous states including Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming, but also include material collected in Mexico and two accessions from Argentina. Limited descriptor data is available on the Germplasm Resources Information Network website (www.usda-grin.gov), including plant height and width, foliage amount, height and distribution, leaf length and width, stem size, tiller production, maturity, seed production, and winter survival. As interest in native grass research increases, the need to acquire additional accessions to add to the collection becomes more important as well as to increase the amount and quality of descriptor data available for material. Future regeneration efforts at our site will focus on increasing the quality of seed harvested and the collection of more detailed and useful descriptor data. Future plant explorations for native grasses, whether done by state, federal, or private entities that result in donations to the system would help to further enhance the value of the collection and assure the preservation of material collected.