Propagating, cultivating, and evaluating New England’s flora to enhance sustainability of the green industry

A thriving horticulture industry relies upon the assessment and introduction of dependable, attractive plants for the landscape. The introduction of nonnative plants comes with ecological risks, making evaluation and promotion of native plants an attractive alternative. The proposed research will support the ornamental and native plant segments of New England’s horticulture industry by generating practical information on the diversity and cultivation of new plants for the industry. The PI anticipates identifying several accessions of native taxa meriting horticultural use, and introducing new native species, varieties, or cultivars of ornamental plants to the horticulture industry. This project is also expected to contribute to conservation goals within New England through development of genetic markers for study of wild populations, increased knowledge about natural genetic resources including Amelanchier and Lonicera, and evaluation of risks associated with the recent promotion of a nonnative Lonicera for North American growers. This work also should contribute to diversification of horticultural landscapes in New England in a manner increasing horticultural expression of regional floristic identity. Within five years, the PI intends to establish a research program that attracts external funding, trains future scientists to consider questions at the intersection of horticulture and ecology, and addresses critical issues in horticulture for Maine.

Investigator: Peterson, B.

Unit: School of Food and Agriculture

Termination Date: 30-Sep-20