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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

R. Neil Reese


Agronomic, horticultural and morphological traits of five populations of Echinacea angustifolia DC. var. angustifolia were evaluated in a common garden at Brookings, South Dakota for a complete three-year life cycle through harvest in the fall of 1994. The common garden study revealed several distinctive traits that can be useful in future evaluation of germ plasm collections. The variation of reproductive and exploitable aerial traits, growth habit and productivity was studied in a randomized complete block design to resolve initial questions faced by potential growers and to understand the potential for improving this species as an economic crop. The soil was Vienna clay loam soil (fine mixed typic haploboroll). The unfertilized field plot was previously a grass meadow for several years. Separate experiments revealed differences for several traits among populations and among plant spacings. The single-spacing experiment (at 90 cm), with 8 families of 18 individuals of each of the five populations revealed at least twice as much variance among populations as among families for survival and aerial yields for each year, and for several floral and phenological traits. Differences among populations for root and seed yield were not detected. The variable-spacing experiment of 90-inch rows and 30-, 60-, and 90-cm within-row spacing for the three northern populations revealed an acceleration of flowering with a decrease in total numbers of flower heads with increased density. Ray flower length and its ratio to head were found to overlap with the range of published values for E. pallida, indicating that these traits cannot be used to negate the identity of a cultivated crop as E. angustifolia. Self-pollination was less than one percent, indicating a need to rely on breeding methods developed for out-crossing species. Root-like shoots that have potential for vegetative reproduction were abundant, but did not vary in number among populations. A northern race of E. angustifolia that was suggested by McGregor (Hurlburt, 1998) might be typified by the North Dakota or Wyoming populations. McGregor's Nebraska/Kansas race might be typified by the either the Kansas or the Nebraska population. The similarities in yield and flowering responses of the South Dakota and Kansas populations might be examples of phenotypic plasticity for the South Dakota population that is not revealed by molecular data in a previous DNA study. The high degree of variation among populations, which exceeds the variation among families for many traits, indicates that the phenotypic traits are useful for germ plasm evaluation. Future evaluations of germ plasm collections will rely on studies such as this common garden study for insights concerning significant and useful traits to employ in a list of phenotypic descriptors.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Echinacea (Plants)
Echinacea (Plants) -- Germplasm resources




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