With years of experience in field observations, the staff at The Arboretum regularly conduct plant evaluations. Our goal is to increase the plant diversity available to the gardening public by identifying and introducing plants showing beneficial characteristics and no invasive qualities.
Plants are evaluated in hopes of identifying or discovering species that possess qualities that are out of the ordinary, such as:
- Superior ornamental characteristics
- A hardier form
- More insect or disease resistance than its counterparts
If a plant exhibits these qualities, it can be given a heightened status. However, researchers must be sure that the suspected beneficial qualities are unique to a plant’s genetics as opposed to other variables. If a particular trait can’t be reproduced with the plant in different locations then the plant does not receive the heightened status.
Plant evaluation is also used to identify the capability of becoming an invasive species. Fruiting characteristics need to be researched to see if a plant’s seeds are viable and to measure the risk of their dispersal by wind or animals.