493 The University Horticultural Department as an Introducer of New Ornamental Crops, Without a Plant Breeder—Is It Possible?

in HortScience
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  • 1 Department of Horticulture, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602 USA

The New Crop Program at the Univ. of Georgia has introduced about a dozen crops new to the floriculture and ornamental plant industry. None of the selections arose from controlled crosses or traditional plant breeding, but were due to discovery, natural plant mutation, and plant donations from interested individuals. All successful introductions benefitted from feedback from the industry, evaluation, research, and promotion of the taxa. No marketing was done by the university. Less than 10% of plants trialed were introduced to the industry, and not all introductions were equally satisfactory. The keys to new crop introduction are feedback from the industry, an industry willing to experiment with new material and to be as highly selective as possible in choosing the crops to be introduced. The disadvantages and benefits of establishing a New Crop Program will be discussed.

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