Brenton Arboretum Director of Horticulture, Andy Schmitz, has recently been published in a distinguished horticultural journal. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University in Boston, MA, considered by most people in the public horticulture industry to be one of the top botanical institutions in the world, publishes The Arnoldia,
a quarterly periodical distributed to thousands of subscribers here and abroad.
Being included in this outstanding publication is quite a badge of honor for Andy and co-author, Jeffrey Carstens, horticulturist at the North Central Regional Plant Introduction Station in Ames, IA.
The article, entitled "Exploring the Native Range of the Kentucky Coffeetree," details Andy's and Jeff's adventures and experiences in their travels to hunt down the Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus
) deep in the wilds of North America's woodlands.
The Brenton Arboretum and the National Plant Germplasm System have been collaborating on this research since 2008. And the collecting trips have resulted in nearly 100 thriving trees planted into the landscape at the Arboretum and thousands of seeds banked in a long-term seed storage repository for wild plant genetics.
Trekking around the woods sounds like a fun way to make a living, right? But you might be asking, why do they do it and who cares? Well, environmental changes - urbanization, global warming, devastation from invasive species, pests and diseases - are constantly threatening our native woodlands. This collection of seeds ensures the stability and the genetic diversity of the species for the future, come what may.
And there's another great benefit of this remarkable project. This collection and research provides a model for ex situ
conservation that other researchers around the globe can implement to help save the native wild species in their own neck of the woods!
Read Andy's and Jeff's informative and enjoyable article here: Exploring the Native Range of Kentucky Coffeetree