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The Center for Native Grasslands Management

Title: The Status of Native Grass Material Held in the USDA Warm-Season Germplasm Collection
Year: 2005
Author(s): Newman, M.
Source Title: Proceedings of the 4th Eastern Native Grass Symposium
Source Type: Proceedings
pages: 177-178
Original Publication:  
Abstract: The USDA National Plant Germplasm System warm-season grass collection, which is maintained in Griffin, Georgia, currently has more than 6,000 accessions of which less than 10% of the collection can be classified as native grass material. This native material has been collected from different areas of the United States by various cooperators dating back to the 1950s. The species maintained include Andropogon gerardii, A. hallii, Bouteloua gracilis, B. eriopoda, B. curtipendula, Schizachyrium scoparium, Panicum virgatum, and Sorghastrum nutans. The collection of sideoats grama, Bouteloua curtipendula, is the largest with 77 accessions followed by little bluestem, Schizachyrium scoparium, with 30 accessions. The remaining species are represented by only 20 or fewer accessions each. Accessions of little bluestem include Aldous, Pastura, Blaze, Cimarron, and a Badlands ecotype. The material maintained for little bluestem has been exclusively collected from the United States from states including Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Texas, and Wyoming. Accessions of sideoats grama include El Reno, Trailway, Butte, Vaughn, Coronado, Tucson, Haskell, Killdeer, Pierre, Uvalde, and Niner. The majority of the sideoats grama accessions were collected from the United States from numerous states including Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, New Mexico, North and South Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, and Wyoming but also include material collected in Mexico and two accessions from Argentina. Limited descriptor data are available on the Germplasm Resources Information Network Web site ( including plant height and width, foliage amount, height and distribution, leaf length and width, stem size, tiller production, maturity, seed production, and winter survival. As interest in native grass research increases, the need to acquire additional accessions to add to the collection becomes more important as well as to increase the amount and quality of descriptor data available for the material. Future regeneration efforts at our site will focus on increasing the quality of seed harvested and the collection of more detailed and useful descriptor data. Future plant explorations for native grasses, whether done by state, federal, or private entities that result in donations to the system would help to further enhance the value of the collection and assure the preservation of material collected.
Publisher: The University of Kentucky Department of Forestry, Lexington, Kentucky
Editor(s): T. G. Barnes