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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Cecil Pounders
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Dr. Cecil Pounders


  • Ph.D., Alabama A&M University
  • M.S.,  University of Minnesota
  • B.S., Auburn University

Professional Experience

  • Research Geneticist at the USDA/ARS Thad Cochran Southern Horticulture Laboratory, Poplarville, MS, 2004 to present
  • worked in both industry and academia, including his last position as Research Horticulturist at Mississippi State University
  • serves on the USDA National Woody Ornamental Germplasm committee
  • served as editor of the propagation section of Southern Nursery Association Research Conference for six years
  • extensive experience in evaluation and development of landscape plants for adaptation to southern production and landscapes.

Research Interests

Research goals include screening germplasm of ornamental genera such as Begonia, Cornus, Hibiscus, LagerstroemiaRhododendron, and Punica for resistance to insects, disease, and stress tolerance. He is also interested in using mutation breeding techniques to increase genetic diversity in those genera.

Primary Breeding Objectives

  1. Improve flower size and disease resistance in crape myrtles through interspecific crosses and quantitative inheritance studies.
  2. Select novel plant types with improved pest tolerance for hibiscus through pedigree and phenotypic assortative mating.
  3. Develop perennial begonia cultivars for temperate zones by introgressing ornamental traits from tropical germplasm into cold hardy species that have rhizomatous roots.

Last Modified: 8/11/2016
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