Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Research Intern Tera Roach patiently removing Box Huckleberry, Gaylussacia brachycera, seeds from the berries

When we came in for break Tera was sitting at that table working on those seeds. When we left she was still there, and when we got in for lunch. Finally I asked her what she was doing. It turns out she's opening the fruit, blue berries, and removing seeds. Seeds are good because BH is self sterile and there don't seem to be a lot of different clones.

The Research Unit has been working with Box Huckleberry for a few years. I vaguely remember an intern presentation who did DNA work on our plants explaining what a limited number of clones there were.. Anyway this spring, Research put different clones in a greenhouse with pollinators and now there seem to be seeds so apparently they committed genetic recombination. Good for FNPRU/DC.

I like Box Huckleberry as a native groundcover for dry shade. I put a plant into the courtyard garden at Beltsville Library and it seems to be tolerating the invasive roots of the Black Birch satisfactorily. I hope it does work out because another native groundcover would be a good thing, especially a shade tolerant low evergreen


deborah said...

Would the Box Huckleberry grow under a Kwansan Cherry tree? I can't seem to get anything to grow under it.

ChrisU said...

Light wouldn't be an issue; the soil seems to be the limiting factor. Give it a try.