Assembling and Characterizing a Comprehensive Echinacea Germplasm Collection

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2002-01-01
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McKeown, Kathleen
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Widrlechner, Mark
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North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station
The North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station manages and provides plant genetic resources and associated information. As a result of working at the station, student employees should improve their professional skills related to communications, ethics, leadership, problem solving, technical agronomy, international awareness, and an appreciation of diversity.
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During the 1990s, the popularity of the genus Echinacea Moench (Asteraceae) as a dietary supplement in the United States increased markedly, as the general public learned of its possible efficacy in fighting colds and other illnesses (Bauer and Wagner 1991; Li 1998). Plant and medical scientists responded to this phenomenon by increasing their efforts to understand the biology, cultivation, and pharmacology of these plants. Unfortunately, very few well-documented living collections of Echinacea were readily available to support that research. Well-documented germplasm collections could also be used to broaden the genetic base of ornamental Echinacea cultivars, which are widely cultivated as attractive landscape perennials.

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This is a proceeding from Fifth National Symposium: New Crops and New Uses: Strength in Diversity (2002): 506.

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