An inventory of wild and weedy relatives has been compiled by USDA scientists and they call it a first of its kind.
Plant geneticist Stephanie Greene with USDA’s Agricultural Research Service says the inventory of crop wild relatives were created for conservation and genetic diversity. Over 4,500 plant groups, called taxa, have been put into inventory by the scientists.
Greene says there are many examples of wild native U.S. species that play key roles in the health and productivity of crops grown worldwide. One such plant is the sunflower, which benefited from wild North American relatives with resistance to rust and downy mildew.