Is Arabis patens the rarest plant in Ohio? On a 24 May 2008 post in his Ohio Birds and Biodiversity blog, Jim McCormac of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' (ODNR) Division of Wildlife asked this question. He had found only a couple of isolated populations in the shaded calcareous cliffs of Franklin and Delaware counties. The species is a member of the Brassicaceae and like many rock cresses, it produces pretty white flowers in the spring.
The Spring of 2012 has been a bit unusual, with an early warming period that stimulated blooms in many plants. A subsequent cooling has kept many flowers open to the delight of pollinators and spectators alike. The phlox bloom in the OPGC's nursery area has been spectacular. The many accessions collected from the Eastern USA over the last couple of years have grown nicely and the consistently cool conditions have encouraged prolific blooms. Phlox bifida (photo) has displayed beautiful white to pale blue colors.
Joana Fernandes, a student from the Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA) in Brazil is spending 6 months at the OPGC working on a variety of projects, but focusing on the establishment of an in vitro backup collection of the clonal begonias. She arrived in January of 2012 and since then has worked diligently in the development of the collection.
The 2012 Viola Trial has been planted in the recently-installed beds to the south of the main OPGC building and greenhouses. This trial explores the adaptability of commercial pansies and some Viola tricolor accessions to the harsher conditions of the summer. Data on flowering response, abundance and duration is recorded to determine the material that performs best in the latter part of the growing season for pansies. The goal is to assess the variation in heat tolerance and its subsequet behavior - such as heritability.
A brief article describing some of the work on the begonia collection at the OPGC has been published in The Begonian, the quarterly magazine of the American Begonia Society (ABS). Author Steven Haba describes the importance of the collection in the OPGC's programs and provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities presented by germplasm work in this very large genus. The original collection of begonias established at the OPGC was generated with assistance and support of the ABS.
Dr. Francis Kwong, lead seed scientist at the Ball Horticultural company in West Chicago, IL visited the OPGC as part of the annual Seed Events program (February 16 and 17) sponsored by the Ohio State University Seed Biology Program and the OPGC. Dr. Kwong joined students and staff in discussing recent papers on seed longevity as well as in a broad-ranging conversation about seed research and working for a major horticultural company. Dr. Kwong also held informative discussions with the OPGC staff and presented a lecture in the Seed Science cours (H&CS 420) led by Prof.
The OPGC participated in the seventh International Symposium on New Floricultural Crops held 22-25 November 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The symposium, sponsored by the International Society for Horticultural Science, featured international speakers discussing a variety of important issues such as Ornamental Genetic Resources: The Potential to Become a New Crop; Germplasm Characterization and Ornamental Value; Domestication, Propagation and Production of New Species; Ornamental Breeding and Biotechnology; and Market Trends and Breeders' Rights.
The Educational Update section of The Buckeye, Volume 22, Issue 9, the monthly magazine of the Ohio Nurserymen and Landscape Association, consists of an article titled Phlox 101: Perspectives on an Underutilized Genus of Native Plants written by Peter Zale and Pablo Jourdan.
Undergraduate students at the Ohio State University (and other institutions) can take advantage of the opportunity to participate in various research projects undertaken at the OPGC. A new link has been added to the Research category that describes some projects available for students to explore. Such research activities by undergraduates greatly enhance the educational experience and provide new perspectives on the role of research in generating knowledge that may be of use in the floriculture/nursery industry and in the conservation community.
The OPGC benefits from the interaction with students and scholars from many countries. The latest visitor to join us for a 6-month study tour is Guilherme Texeira from the Universidade Federal de Lavras in Brazil. Guilherme will be staying with us until January 2012 and during that time will learn various facets of our germplasm operations as well as developing a research project that will be part of his undergraduate degree back home.