Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Native Plant Fares Well in Pilot Green Roof Research Study

In a UC pilot study of plants best suited for the region’s green roofs, the North American native, nodding wild onion, and a sedum commonly known as goldmoss sedum were the most likely to survive both heat and little rainfall, conditions common to the area’s summer months.

As the implementation of green roofs increase, a University of Cincinnati pilot study examined which plants best thrive on the region’s roofs during the dry, hot conditions of summer.

That research, by UC biology student Jill Bader and Ishi Buffam, assistant professor of biology, identified a North American (and Ohio) native plant – nodding wild onion (Allium cernuum) and a European sedum (Sedum acre, also known as goldmoss sedum) as suited to survive and thrive on the region’s green roofs.

Their research will be presented in a paper titled “Ohio Native Plants On a Green Roof: Evaluation of Survival and Impact on Stormwater Runoff” at the CitiesAlive 2012 conference, sponsored by Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Oct. 17-20 in Chicago.

“Our research will help inform the design of green roofs specific for this region, and therefore increase their chances of being successful, and being adopted in Midwestern cities. There are many potential benefits to green roofs, including building energy savings, extension of roof life, reduced air and noise pollution, creation of environment for native birds and insects and, of course, reduced storm water runoff,” said Buffam.

Bader and Buffam tested four Ohio native plants and one sedum to see which was the most likely to survive on an extensive green roof in the late summer of 2011. All plants were tested under two conditions: dependent on rainfall only and receiving regular watering. The testing took place at the Cincinnati Center for Field Studies in Harrison, Ohio.

All plants receiving regular watering survived.

However, heath aster (Aster ericoides), flowering spurge (Euphorbia corollata) and lanced-leaved loosestrife (Lysimachia lanceolata) did not survive when receiving rainfall as their only water source.

When receiving only rainfall, the nodding wild onion (A. cernuum) and the goldmoss sedum (S. acre) were stressed but survived.

All of these plants were selected for testing because their natural habitat is prairie or meadow, where exposure to full sun and dry conditions are typical.

According to Bader, “We tested the plants because one of the most critical choices for the success of a green roof is the choice of plant species. The environment on a rooftop is characterized by severe drought, elevated temperatures, high light intensity, high winds and the layer of soil for the plants is generally shallower than it would be for plants in typical settings.”

In fact, a contributing factor in the success of S. acre and A. cernuum to survive was shallow root systems, paired with characteristics that allow them to efficiently use water during hot, dry conditions. In the case of A. cernuum, it’s a bulb which can store water for later use by the plant, and in the case of S. acre, it’s the relatively thick foliage and CAM photosynthesis. (CAM photosynthesis is an adaptation by plants living in arid conditions that allows stoma or tiny pores in the foliage to close during the day in order to retain moisture but opening at night in order to complete part of the photosynthesis process.)

Bader and Buffam added that environmental conditions vary widely by geographic regions in North America. There are hundreds of eco-regions in North America, and that demands study of which plants work best in each region.

In addition to testing which Ohio native plants could best survive on an extensive green roof, Bader and Buffam also tested the impact of plant species to reduce water runoff, one of the important functions of a green roof. (In other words, which of the tested plants best retained water, such that the water was absorbed vs. running into the sewer system.)

In this preliminary test, the native species receiving moisture only from rainfall (vs. regular watering) retained 51 percent of rainfall on average, but there was no significant difference among the species in their abilities to absorb water and reduce total runoff quantity. Those plants receiving regular watering retained 44 percent of rainfall on average.

This pilot study was supported by UC’s Julia Hammler Wendell Scholarship Fund, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program and Cincinnati Center for Field Studies at Miami Whitewater Forest, a research station partnership between the University of Cincinnati and the Hamilton County Park District.

M.B. Reilly | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>