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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fargo, North Dakota » Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center » Sunflower and Plant Biology Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #207133

Title: Exploration and collection of rare Helianthus species from southeastern United States

item Gulya Jr, Thomas
item Seiler, Gerald

Submitted to: Helia
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/15/2007
Publication Date: 7/1/2007
Citation: Gulya, T.J., Seiler, G.J., Kong, G., Marek, L.F. 2007. Exploration and collection of rare Helianthus species from southeastern United States. Helia. 30(46):13-24.

Interpretive Summary: Wild sunflowers (Helianthus) are native to North Amercia, and these sixty-plus taxa may have genes that could improve cultivated sunflower. Personnel of the USDA Sunflower Unit in Fargo, ND and the USDA North Central Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA make periodic trips throughout the U.S. to find these different wild sunflowers and collect seeds. The seeds are used both by ARS and other U.S. scientists and are freely available to sunflower researchers around the world. In 2003, two ARS scientists and one from Australia spent 10 days exploring TN, NC, SC, GA and AL for Helianthus species native to this region. One of the species of interest was listed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service as "threatened" due to its rarity, and a second species is being considered for this listing. At the conclusion of the trip, the authors had found and collected 27 population of six different Helianthus species. The seeds have been officially deposited in the germplasm bank in Ames, IA and most are available for distribution to researchers. Efforts are still in progress to evaluate these new "accessions" for traits of value to cultivated sunflower, such as disease resistance.

Technical Abstract: A 10-day trip, encompassing 4600 km in the states of Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama in southeastern U.S.A., was made in October, 2003. Our primary objective was to search for populations of Helianthus eggertii then on the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Threatened and Endangered Species list, as well as H. verticillatus, a candidate for endangered species status. Helianthus eggertii has since been de-listed (August 2005). An additional objective was to collect seeds of H. porteri, a species reclassified from Viguiera porteri, which is endemic to granite rock outcrops in Georgia. We collected seeds from 23 populations of the above three species plus three additional species, H. angustifolius, H. atrorubens, and H. smithii. Seed was deposited with the USDA-North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station at Ames, IA (NCRPIS) from which 24 of the 27 collections are available for distribution. The three 'target' species were represented by 13 collections of H. eggertii, eight of H. porteri, and two of H. verticillatus; none of the three species were previously available from the NCRPIS sunflower collection. The availability of seed of these three species will allow researchers around the world the opportunity to investigate the potential of these wild Helianthus species to contribute useful traits to cultivated sunflower. Complete collection data has been loaded into the USDA's Germplasm Resource Information Network (GRIN), and is available on the internet (