Current Projects

Current research projects at the OPGC include:

  1. Evaluation of Powdery Mildew disease in Phlox

    One of the major challenges to Phlox performance in the landscape is the common occurence of the cosmetic disease of powdery mildew.  Very little is known about this disease, so a collaboratiave project with the Department of Plant Pathology is underway to examine various aspects of the disease such as analysis of the pathogen, development of an in vitro screening protocol.  The ultimate goal of the project is to understand the disease sufficiently to develop effective screening protocols that may permit identification of resistance in the germplasm collection.  

  2. In vitro protocols for germplasm preservation

    The OPGC is attempting to back-up in vitro its entire clonal collection (primarily of Pelargonium and Begonia).  Various approaches are being explored to introduce the accessions in culture and then establish methods for slow growth to reduce the frequency of subculture needed to keep the material alive.  In addition, the Phlox collection has also been introduced in vitro while various issues associated with seed production and seed qualit are examined.

  3. Seed Quality Analysis in Phlox

    An important goal of our germplasm development in Phlox is to conserve the germplasm as seed.  However, seeds of the perennial species of Phlox have proven much more challenging to produce (pollination requires butterflies and only one or two seeds are prododuced per fruit),  harvest (fruit shattering is a common process through ballistic dispersal of seeds) and germination (seeds require cold stratification prior to germination).

  4. Development of a germplasm collection for Phlox and analysis of interspecific hybridization among Eastern USA taxa

    The Phlox germplasm collection at the OPGC is being developed by acquisition of wild germplasm through collections in native habitats in the USA as well as by obtaining representative cultivars from various nurseries.  The wild material consists of some original seed from a few of the species where it has been possible to collect them, and also of clonal material that is maintained in the field and in tissue culture.  Much of the collection has been characterized by flow cytometric analysis for total genome size and correlation with ploidy.