[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 7-Nov-2007
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Contact: Michael W. Neff
mwneff@ashs.org
703-836-4606
American Society for Horticultural Science

New 'Raider Amethyst' prairie verbena: conserves water, drought-tolerant

IMAGE: 'Raider Amethyst' prairie verbena, a new drought-resistant and water-saving wildflower.

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LUBBOCK, Texas -- Prairie verbena, a common wildflower, grows from the Mississippi River to Arizona and from Southern Mexico to South Dakota. This beautiful native plant can be seen covering large areas of plains, prairies, pastures, and roadsides, often from March through October.

Working to create a new drought-resistant and water-saving wildflower, scientists at Texas Tech University's Department of Plant and Soil Science have introduced 'Raider Amethyst', a new cultivar of common prairie verbena. Cynthia McKenney, Associate Professor of Horticulture at Texas Tech, says that Raider Amethyst was bred for homeowners and landscape architects who are interested in using more environmentally adapted materials in home gardens and public use areas. McKenney noted, "This project was to develop an improved wildflower release that would provide more compact, dependable color in a water-conserving landscape."

Raider Amethyst, or Glandularia bipinnatifida, is the second addition to the Raider Wildflower collection, following Melampodium leucanthum 'Raider White', commonly known as blackfoot daisy. It is recommended for use in low-maintenance plantings and water-conserving landscapes. It grows throughout the season with minimal care. Raider Amethyst is now available as commercial and experimental seed.

Of the new wildflower's impact, McKenney stated, "Urban water usage has been estimated to be about 70% of water consumption in the average metropolitan area. By utilizing water-conserving or drought-tolerant plants such as Raider Amethyst, people will be able to maintain an attractive landscape while reducing the use of potable water."

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Founded in 1903, the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) is the largest organization dedicated to advancing all facets of horticultural research, education and application. More information at ashs.org



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