Friday, January 16, 2009

NACPEC Fraxinus seed: we cleaned it, planted it, and moved it into warm stratification in pleasant surroundings

Four of us cleaned seed today. More accurately we cleaned Fraxinus seed from the 2008 NACPEC trip. NACPEC, North Americn Chinese Plant Exploration Consortium, is a collaborative group of institutions that pool their resources to sponsor plant collection in China. Cleaning was a tedious process but....not a bad alternative to working outside on a windy 14F day! Anyway, when the seed was finally cleaned, I planted it and moved it into our warm Polyhouse for 3 months of warmth before it goes into the cooler. The warm Polyhouse was a pleasant place on a bitter blustery day.

Apparently Lawrence Lee, the Asian Plants curator that I worked for in the early 90s, went on what is considered the first NACPEC collecting trip. This past year Chris Carley from the USNA was our representative and much of the seed they collected was Fraxinus. They collected a good quantity of seed from a handful of species. Chris mentioned to me that Fraxinus mandshurica was particularly interesting because the Emerald Ash Borer seems less interested in that species than others so that it may be a useful plant for hybridization. Certainly anything that can provide a ray of hope in that area is a good thing!

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