Submitted to: Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/11/2005
Publication Date: 5/13/2005
Citation: Newman, M.L. aka Harrison Dunn, M.L., 2005. Overview of the warm-season grass collection. In: Proceedings of the 60th Southern Pasture and Forage Crop Improvement Conference, May 11-13, 2005, Philadelphia, MS. 2005 CDROM.
Interpretive Summary: Plant populations around the world are vanishing due to numerous factors including habitat destruction and modern agricultural practices. These plant populations may have special characteristics which may be of great importance to agriculture now and in the future. In order to safeguard this material, the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) has over 440,000 entries of plant material that has been collected from all around the world. One important category of plants that is maintained by the NPGS is the grasses which are maintained as two separate collections—the warm-season grass collection located at the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit in Griffin, GA, and the cool-season grass collection located at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, WA. The material in the warm-season grass collection includes grasses important for lawns, pastures, and ornamental purposes. Important pasture grasses for the southern United States such as bermudagrasss, bahiagrass, dalligrass, digitgrass, limpograss, and native grasses can be found in the collection. The material is mainly stored as seed in such a way to make sure the seed will not deteriorate over time. The storage and protection of this valuable plant material helps make sure the future generations will have the material they need to advance agriculture in order to feed and clothe the world.
Technical Abstract: The National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) has over 440,000 accessions of plant material that is maintained by locations throughout the U.S. and its territories (USDA, 2005). Grass germplasm is maintained as two separate collections – the warm-season grass collection located at the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU) in Griffin, GA and the cool-season grass collection located at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, WA. The warm-season grass collection at PGRUC has 6,670 accessions representing 98 genera and 464 species which have been collected from different countries throughout the world. The majority of the material is maintained as seed and stored in low temperature, controlled humidity freezers, while 432 accessions are maintained vegetatively under greenhouse conditions. The germplasm is tested for germination and periodically regenerated to maintain adequate seed quantities and to ensure viability of the seed during which time the material is also evaluated for basic descriptor data. A listing of all the material maintained by PGRCU as well as the entire NPGS system can be viewed at http://www.ars-grin.gov. The warm-season grass germplasm consists mainly of material suitable for forage, turf, and a few ornamental grasses. The collection includes both introduced and native material. Many forage grasses of special interest to the southern U.S. is maintained in the collection, including bermudagrass, bahiagrass, dallisgrass, digitgrass, limpograss and native grasses. Status and curatorial plans for each of these southern forage grass collections are discussed in the proceedings paper.