An article in the 16 August 2015 Columbus Dispatch tells the story of the OPGC's contribution to the preservation and propagation of a rare and endangered plant in central Ohio, Arabis patens, or rock cress. Through the efforts of curator Susan Stieve and OPGC staff and students, plants of rock cress were grown in the greenhouses and seed was produced by hand pollination. The seeds are being stored at the OPGC.
As in previous years, the OPGC had an informational booth at Cultivate'15, the largest horticultural trade show in North America, sponsored by AmericanHort. The theme of the booth coincided with our focus on 2015 as the Year of Rudbeckia. The booth provided an opportunity to make contact with many stakeholders that already work with OPGC materials as well as to introduce the importance of genetic resources and germplasm preservation to a wider audience. The trade show typically receives about 10,000 visitors.
A group of faculty from the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, paid a visit to the OPGC and The Ohio State University to discuss mutual interests in research and educational activities. The OPGC has hosted various visiting scholar students from UFLA and the visitors had an opportunity to meet the various students from Lavras currently on campus. The visiting faculty were: Dr. Patricia Duarte de Oliveira Paiva, current chair of the Department of Crop Science and an expert on floriculture and landscape design; Dr.
Sibelle Santanna is a PhD student from the Universidade de Sao Paulo in Brazil. She studies seed physiology at the Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz in Piracicaba. Sibelle will spend 9 months at he OPGC assessing seed quality in different species of Phlox. The research will focus on comparisons of tests for seed viability such as germination and tetrazolium chloride; it will also examine seed dormancy and methods to efficiently overcome it for rapid germination.
Baptisia is one of the genera maintained at the OPGC. This native North American genus consists of approximately 30 species distribued mainly in the Eastern and Southeaster USA. The collection had originally been developed at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, Iowa, but has since be transferred to the OPGC. Recently, the last shipment of seeds were received and curation of the collection moves forward.
Juliana Espindola from the Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil has joined the OPGC as a visiting scholar for 9 months to study seed development in Phlox. Juliana is a PhD candidate in Brazil and is pursuing studies on seed quality and germination. Her work at the OPGC will focus on documenting the development of seeds from flower formation to seed maturation. Phlox seed production is a challenge and availability of high-quality seed is very limited. Juliana will help define the key parameters involved in seed production and maturation.
Every July, the OPGC participates in the largest horticultural trade show and educational event, Cultivate'14 (formerly the OFA Short Course and Trade Show). Our presence at the trade show and in educational sessions provides us with a forum to promote our activities and maintain connections with our stakeholders. Our small booth highlighted Phlox as our theme genus for this year. We also contributed presentations on the opportunities and challenges in Phlox as garden plants as well as on the contributions the OPGC makes to the floriculture and nursery industry.
The genus Lilium is one of our priorities for conservation and study. Last year (2013) we initiated a collaborative study with Prof. William Miller of Cornell University to assess the garden performance of selected lily cultivars that have previously shown some potential as perennial garden plants in different parts of the USA.
The OPGC's backyard offers a colorful and enticing view from the beautiful new green roof installed on Howlett Hall as part of the Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens' programs. The view from this roof includes our high tunnel and the many raised beds that this year, 2014, are teeming with phlox of many types. The phlox collection includes plants derived from material collected in the wild, as well as representative cultivars.
Controlled pollination of our acessions is critical for the production of seeds consistent with the genetic charateristics of the original population. Bumblebees are our principal pollinators, but unfortunately they do not typically pollinate flowers of Phlox, one of our priority genera. In the wild, phlox are generally pollinated by members of the Lepidoptera, the moths and butterflies. The reason for this is that phlox flowers have a very narrow corolla tube.