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ARS Home » Plains Area » Fort Collins, Colorado » Center for Agricultural Resources Research » Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #355693

Research Project: Efficient and Effective Preservation and Management of Plant and Microbial Genetic Resource Collections

Location: Agricultural Genetic Resources Preservation Research

Title: Wild plant genetic resources in North America: An overview

item Greene, Stephanie
item Williams, Karen
item Khoury, Colin
item KANTAR, MICHAEL - University Of Hawaii
item MAREK, LAURA - Iowa State University

Submitted to: North American Crop Wild Relatives
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/13/2018
Publication Date: 12/13/2018
Citation: Greene, S.L., Williams, K.A., Khoury, C.K., Kantar, M.B., Marek, L.F. 2018. Preface. In: Greene, S.L., Williams, K.A., Khoury, C.K., Kantar, M.B., Marek, L.F., editors. North American Crop Wild Relatives. Volume 1: Conservation Strategies. New York, NY: Springer, Cham. p. xiii-xiv.

Interpretive Summary: This book volume includes a description, geographic distribution, potential usefulness, and conservation status of wild plant species related to important cereal, legume, vegetable, fruit and nut, forage, industrial, medicinal and ornamental crops. Notably, the book contains hundreds of high quality color maps that depict species distributions of over 600 native plants, using cutting edge modeling techniques based on one of the most comprehensive sets of occurrence data ever compiled for such purposes, with the resulting maps vetted by experts. Since the information in this book has never been comprehensively compiled, we believe that this volume will be an important resource to support the combined efforts of both the agricultural and the natural resource communities to locate, conserve, manage and make available wild plant species that are valuable for agricultural security

Technical Abstract: The increasing challenges to agricultural production brought about in the coming decades by climate change, added to the biotic and abiotic stresses already present, will necessitate the use of novel genes from wild plant genetic resources to find solutions. The combined efforts of both the agricultural and the natural resource communities are critical to locate, conserve, manage and make available these invaluable species for food and agricultural security of future generations. The purpose of this volume is to highlight the most important wild plant genetic resources that grow in North America, and focuses on Canada, the United States and Mexico; three major countries whose combined area covers most of the continent. A thorough understanding of the species that occupy North America, including their distributions, potential value to agriculture, and conservation statuses and needs, will give agricultural and conservation communities the basic knowledge they need to take steps to conserve our natural heritage of wild plants important to food and agriculture. The book includes maps of the geographic distributions of hundreds of species, modeled from the most comprehensive and up-to-date occurrence records and vetted by the authors. Three chapters cover cereals, including maize (Zea L.), minor cereals (Amaranthus L., Avena L., Chenopodium L., Echinochloa P. Beauv., Fagopyrum Mill., Hordeum L., Panicum L., and Setaria P. Beauv.) and wildrice (Zizania L.). A single chapter covers beans (Phaseolus L.), whose areas of domestication include Mexico and possibly the United States and for which there are significant wild genetic resources in the two countries. Four chapters cover vegetables, including lettuce (Lactuca L..), pumpkins and squash (Cucurbita L.), peppers (Capsicum L.) and the following root crops: carrot (Daucus L.), sweetpotato (Ipomoea L.), potato (Solanum L. ), Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus L.), jicama (Pachyrhizus Rich. ex DC.), cocoyam (Xanthosoma Schott.), cassava (Manihot Mill.), and beet (Beta L.). Fruits are covered by four chapters, focusing on temperate small fruits (strawberry (Fragaria L..), currants and gooseberries (Ribes L..), blackberries and raspberries (Rubus L..) and blueberries and cranberry (Vaccinium L.); a separate chapter on grapes (Vitis L.); temperate fruit trees (apple (Malus Mill.), stone fruits (Prunus L.), persimmon (Diospyros L.), and pawpaw (Asimina Adans.); and, finally, tropical fruit trees (avocado (Persea Mill.); mamey sapote (Pouteria Aubl.), and cherimoya (Annona L.). A chapter on genetic resources of temperate nut crops (chestnut (Castanea Mill.), hazelnut (Corylus L.), pecan (Carya Nutt.), pistachio (Pistacia L.) and walnut (Juglans L.) is also included. Industrial crops are represented by three chapters, one on sunflower (Helianthus L.); a second on rubber and minor oil seed crops [meadowfoam (Limnanthes R. Br.), lesquerella (Physaria (Nutt. ex Torr. & A. Gray) A. Gray ) and guayule (Parthenium L.)]; and a third on fiber crops, including cotton (Gossypium L.) and hesperaloe (Hesperaloe Engelm.). Another chapter covers forage and turf grasses (native warm season forage and turf, and cool season forage species). Finally there are chapters on wild species used as ornamentals, including those in the genera Coreopsis L., Rudbeckia L. and Phlox L. A final chapter in this section covers species used medicinally or for social purposes, highlighting black cohosh (Actaea L.), cacao (Theobroma L.), tobacco (Nicotiana L.) and hops (Humulus L.). There are over 20,000 wild plant species in North America, and all deserve to flourish. However, a small fraction, because of their genetic proximity to agriculturally important crops, deserves to be recognized, celebrated, conserved, and made available to support food and agricultural security.