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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #346437

Research Project: Evaluation and Genetic Improvement of Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants for Disease and Pest Tolerance, Non-Invasiveness, and Ornamental Traits

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: A checklist of Cercis (Redbud) cultivars

Author
item Kidwell Slak, David
item Pooler, Margaret

Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/29/2017
Publication Date: 2/1/2018
Citation: Kidwell Slak, D.L., Pooler, M.R. 2018. A checklist of Cercis (Redbud) cultivars. HortScience. 53:148-152. https://doi.org/10.21273/HORTSCI12564-17.

Interpretive Summary: Redbuds (Cercis species) are a popular landscape plant in the U.S, valued for their showy early spring bloom, glossy heart-shaped foliage, and adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. Nearly a million redbud trees are grown each year in the U.S., with an annual value of $26 million. Redbuds have become more popular in the past few decades, as evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of named cultivars available to the trade. The International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) is a voluntary system of registering plant names to promote the stability of cultivated plant nomenclature by preventing duplication of names and ensuring that names follow standard codes. The U.S. National Arboretum was appointed as the ICRA for redbuds in 2013. One of the jobs of the ICRA is to establish the plant names through publication to ensure that each name has precedence for its use. The purpose of this checklist, therefore, is to establish the Cercis names and provide a resource for botanists, nursery industry professionals, horticulturists, and others interested in this genus.

Technical Abstract: The genus Cercis L. (redbud; Fabaceae: Caesalpinoideae: Cercideae) is a morphologically and biogeographically diverse group with seven to thirteen species or subspecies that occur in North America, Europe, and Asia. Redbuds are a significant crop for the American nursery industry, valued primarily for their showy early spring bloom, glossy heart-shaped foliage, and adaptability to diverse environmental conditions. Redbuds have become more popular in the past few decades, as evidenced by a sharp increase in the number of named cultivars available to the trade. Additionally, over the past several decades, the U.S. National Arboretum has amassed a diverse collection of Cercis collected in North America and Asia, as well as representative redbud cultivars sold in the United States, in support of our active breeding program and germplasm collections. The increased popularity of redbuds and the proliferation of named cultivars, combined with our interest in Cercis germplasm, prompted us to apply for appointment as the International Cultivar Registration Authority (ICRA) for Cercis, which was granted in 2013. The ICRA is a voluntary system of registering plant names to promote the stability of cultivated plant nomenclature by preventing duplication of names and ensuring that names follow standard codes. One of the jobs of the ICRA is to establish the plant names through publication to ensure that each name has precedence for its use. The purpose of this checklist, therefore, is to establish the Cercis names and provide a resource for botanists, nursery industry professionals, horticulturists, and others interested in this genus.