"Ruby Slippers" and "Munchkin" are the latest cultivars released by ARS geneticist Sandy Reed with the U.S. National Arboretum's Floral and Nursery Plants Research Unit's worksite in McMinnville, Tenn. The arboretum is operated by ARS, the principal intramural scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The new cultivars are the first compact forms of Hydrangea quercifolia, a species of hydrangea native to the southeastern United States, to be released by ARS. H. quercifolia is commonly known as oakleaf hydrangea because its leaves resemble those from oak trees. According to Reed, currently available oakleaf hydrangea cultivars are taller than desired for small landscape gardens or, if shorter, don't have good flowering qualities.
Ruby Slippers and Munchkin address both of these issues. The new cultivars are small in stature and have large flower heads that stay upright, even after heavy rains. They grow 3-4 feet tall and 4-5 feet wide after nine years of growth, with flower heads held upright above their leaves, making them particularly suited for use in small residential landscapes. Flowers on Ruby Slippers open white but quickly turn pale pink and deepen into rose, while those on Munchkin open white and gradually turn medium pink. Both plants flower in early summer.
Like other oakleaf hydrangeas, Ruby Slippers and Munchkin can be grown in full sun or light shade and are hardy in USDA zones 5 to 8. They can be used in shrub borders or mass-planted in large areas. The plants have been evaluated by cooperators throughout the United States, and cooperators are currently increasing stock. Reed anticipates the plants will be widely available for sale to consumers in the next year or two.
Nursery crops are a multi-billion dollar industry. Wholesalers in 17 states surveyed by the USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service grossed $4.65 billion in sales in 2006, the last year for which figures are available. That's an increase of 17 percent from 2003 sales. Deciduous shrubs like the oakleaf hydrangea accounted for 14 percent of the industry's total sales in 2006.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Stephanie Yao | EurekAlert!
Tropical deforestation releases large amounts of soil carbon
28.07.2015 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Drivers of temporal changes in temperate forest plant diversity
27.07.2015 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena
Researchers have developed an ultrafast light-emitting device that can flip on and off 90 billion times a second and could form the basis of optical computing.
Joint BioEnergy Institute study identifies bacterial protein that is key to protecting rice against bacterial blight
A bacterial signal that when recognized by rice plants enables the plants to resist a devastating blight disease has been identified by a multi-national team...
Researchers in the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin are one step closer to delivering smart windows with a new level of energy efficiency, engineering materials that allow windows to reveal light without transferring heat and, conversely, to block light while allowing heat transmission, as described in two new research papers.
By allowing indoor occupants to more precisely control the energy and sunlight passing through a window, the new materials could significantly reduce costs for...
Argonne scientists used Mira to identify and improve a new mechanism for eliminating friction, which fed into the development of a hybrid material that exhibited superlubricity at the macroscale for the first time. Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) researchers helped enable the groundbreaking simulations by overcoming a performance bottleneck that doubled the speed of the team's code.
While reviewing the simulation results of a promising new lubricant material, Argonne researcher Sanket Deshmukh stumbled upon a phenomenon that had never been...
A NASA camera on the Deep Space Climate Observatory (DSCOVR) satellite has returned its first view of the entire sunlit side of Earth from one million miles away.
The color images of Earth from NASA's Earth Polychromatic Imaging Camera (EPIC) are generated by combining three separate images to create a...
23.07.2015 | Event News
10.07.2015 | Event News
25.06.2015 | Event News
29.07.2015 | Earth Sciences
29.07.2015 | Life Sciences
29.07.2015 | Life Sciences