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Plant Collectors Still Travel to China

I just returned from the annual Garden Writers Associaton conference, which this year took place in Indianapolis.

At this event GWA recognized outstanding examples of garden writing, garden photography, as well as garden social media with either a Gold or  Silver Award. The award winners, about 30, had their material on display during the three days of the convention. The awards were presented at the banquet on the last night.

GWA presented a Silver Award for this issue of Arnoldia, Vol. 68, No2, 2010.

Boston’s Arnold Arboretum‘s publication Arnoldia won a Silver Award for Achievement for its Volume 68, Number 2, which focused on the 20th anniversary of the North American-Chinese Plant Exploration Consortium (NACPEC).

Over the last 20 years members of the Arnold Arboretum and several other botanical gardens, mostly in the US, have traveled to China for plants that would be adaptable to our growing conditions.  Since the founding of NACPEC  a dozen expeditions have provided over 1300 plant varieties, now in test gardens in nine universities and botanical gardens. A plant undergoes evaluation for ornamental merit, resistance to pests, medicinal uses, and possible invasiveness.

Our popular plant, the Canadian hemlock, has in recent years suffered from the woolly adelgid (HWA).  China grows a hemlock, Tsuga chinensis, currently under evaluation in this country, that does not succomb to the disease.  It is one plant that certainly would be a welcome addition to the landscape in the US.

The GWA recognized the importance of the work of NACPEC, covered in several articles in this issue of Arnoldia.

The long tradition of hunting for plants in Asia, which  the English fostered for centuries, still continues.  The focus now however,  as the articles of the Arnoldia issue confirm, is first, the scientific documentation of botantical diversity, and then, potential use as a landscape plant.


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