Native Plant Breeding: Bringing the Beauty of Nature Home - Introduction

Home owners enjoy beautiful flowers in their gardens. However, when water is limited, keeping the plants beautiful can be a challenge.

A common beautiful flower garden.  (Image by Kim Todd)

A plant in water stress...OUCH!  (Image by Jody Soester)

In nature, plants have adapted to grow and flower in less than ideal conditions.

Penstemon in an urban setting.  (Image by Dale Lindgren)

Penstemon in a rural setting.  (Image by Dale Lindgren)

Can home owners have the best of both worlds? Can they have beauty in their yard even when they can’t provide their plants with the perfect environment? The answer is yes, thanks to the work of native plant breeders and the careful attention they pay to the flowers of the plants they work with. Meet Dale, our native plant breeder. His goal is to develop and propagate native plants that have desired combinations of traits.

Dale Lindgen at work in his nursery.  (Image by Don Lee)

Dale Lindgren at work in his nursery.  (Image by Don Lee)

Dale works with many species of plants that are native to the great plains. He selects native plants that are visually appealing and learns how and where the plants are adapted to grow. Dale’s goal is to find variation among these plants that is passed on from a parent to it’s offspring and is thus genetically controlled.



How does a plant produce sexual offspring?

To review this concept go to Flowering Principles: The Flower and Sexual Reproduction.

Looks Good! Correct: Seeds are produced by the sexual reproduction that happens in the flower. Genes are passed from parent to offspring by seed development.