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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

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Research Project: Development of Ornamental Warm Season Grass Cultivars Using Traditional Plant Breeding Techniques

Location: Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit

Project Number: 6607-21000-011-07
Project Type: Nonfunded Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 01, 2013
End Date: Jun 30, 2018

Objective:
Develop novel cultivars of little bluestem, indiangrass, and other warm season grass species for use as ornamentals.

Approach:
Prior work in little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, (NFCA 58-907-6-147N) has yielded four clonal lines that are currently being trialed for their use as an ornamental. These lines will continue to be trialed with the expectation that several of these lines will be brought to the marketplace as patented and licensed cultivars. Additional clonal lines in the current breeder stock held jointly by the investigators will continue to be maintained and evaluated for their use as an ornamental. Accessions of indiangrass, Sorghastrum nutans, in the National Plant Germplasm System will be field grown and evaluated during 2014 and 2015. Plants displaying ornamental traits will be transplanted from the field to pots to serve as parental stock for cultivar development. Selections produced from open pollination and controlled crosses will be utilized in the development of this initial germplasm pool into ornamental lines worthy of release as patented and licensed cultivars. Candidate lines will be trialed at several locations throughout the United States. Additional warm season grass species in the NPGS will be field grown and evaluated for ornamental potential. Selection of species for evaluation will be based on the ARS investigator's prior work with the NPGS warm season grass germplasm collection and will focus on species that currently have no significant ornamental cultivars available on the market. The same selection strategy will be employed for the development of this germplasm pool into patented and licensed cultivars.

Last Modified: 8/1/2014
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