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  • Author or Editor: D.T. Lindgren x
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There has been a large increase in the use of native herbaceous prairie plants for ornamental purposes. They are also being used for cut flowers, medicinal purposes, and in restoration projects. To discuss the subject of breeding and selecting herbaceous plants for landscaping, it is convenient to divide the topic into three areas of interest: 1) selecting native ecotypes for use on specific sites; 2) selecting and breeding for nonnative/native plants for wildflower mixes; and 3) selecting, breeding and developing specific individual plants for ornamental/garden use. Native plant traits that are being evaluated at the Univ. of Nebraska West Central Center include competitiveness, pest tolerance, regional adaptation, flowering characteristics, foliage characteristics, proportionality of plants, ease of propagation, ease of establishment, and moisture requirements. In addition, research is being conducted at the West Central Center regarding genetic variation. For example, Dalea purpureum varies in height, foliage color, stems per plant, stem lodging, and time of flowering. Similar variation has been documented in Lithospermum, Calylophus, Penstemon, Liatris, and Echinacea, to name a few. Botanically, genetic variation has been documented within many native herbaceous species. However, plant breeders have done very little with these variations in genotypes, thus allowing considerable opportunity for breeding research with native herbaceous plants.

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Abstract

The genus Penstemon is native to North America with the exception of one species (1). The species in this genus include most colors, with variation in height from a few centimeters to over 2 m, and may be annual, biennial, or perennial (1). ‘Schooley’s Yellow’ is a yellow-flowered selection of Penstemon barbatus (Cav.) Roth selected at the Univ. of Nebraska. This selection is being released for its ornamental value, yellow flowering characteristic, and for use as germplasm in other penstemon breeding and selection programs.

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Abstract

‘Husker Red’ is a white-flowered, redfoliaged (stems and leaves) selection of Penstemon digitalis Nutt. (Fig. 1). It is being released both for home garden use and for breeding germplasm. It also can be used as a cut flower in floral arrangements. Color contrast between the white flowers and red foliage adds to its ornamental value.

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Thirteen farmers' markets have been established in west-central Nebraska with varying degrees of success. Sales and seller participation in the active markets have varied from year to year. Farmers' markets in small communities, as well as in larger metropolitan areas, can be successful.

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Abstract

‘Smokey’, a dense, low growing perennial selection of Dianthus plumarius L., is a joint release of the Nebraska Agricultural Experiment Station and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Science and Education Administration, Agricultural Research. It is a selection from Plant Introduction 371894.

Open Access

Abstract

N74133 is being released as germplasm. Having been used since 1976 as a parent in the University of Nebraska hardy Dianthus breeding program, it produces offspring with desirable aesthetic characteristics. Most progenies, including seifs, open-pollinated selections and those from selected crosses, have produced a high percentage of offspring with large, double flowers. Lavender and pink flower colors dominate in progenies. Plant type within offspring is variable.

Open Access

Abstract

Alkaline soils in Nebraska reduce crop yields and lower aesthetic values of ornamentals and turf (2). Chlorosis associated with alkaline soils occurs in many plants and influences plant growth and development by reducing photosynthetic efficiency (1). Data for turfgrass species and cultivar growth at high pH would be useful.

Open Access