Maroon Pride Mum.

MN Impact: Mum Breeding Leads to New Varieties, Partnerships and Innovations

September 20, 2019

Objective

Research will support new horticultural crops' growth.

Issue

The U.S. floriculture industry is strong. The value of sales of floriculture crops exceeds $5 billion (wholesale) annually, a significant contribution to farm income. Chrysanthemums, or mums, are a staple in fall gardens but research and breeding efforts are vital to help keep floricultural crops sales strong in the 21st century. 

What has been done

The University's mum breeding program is one of the oldest public sector breeding programs in the world and the only one in North America. Trend-setting breeding endeavors, coupled with the program's germplasm base and genetic resources, continue to bring a wide range of colors and shapes of proven hardy mums to northern gardens.

In recent years, the University's floral research has garnered international respect and led to the development of a collaborative chrysanthemum-breeding program with the Chungnam Provincial Agricultural Research and Extension Services in South Korea. The program also has cooperative breeding efforts in China. Neil Anderson and his team have collected wild mum species in Alaska to add to the University's germplasm collection. Additionally, scientists from Asia can study at the University of Minnesota and bring new breeding techniques back to their countries.

Results

Four new chrysanthemum cultivars were released to the world market in 2018, including "Cushion Ball", a new spreading type bred for the Asian markets-particularly South Korea, "White Centerpiece" as a new color for the "Centerpiece" series and two ground cover cultivars.

In total, the program has released over 100 cold-hardy chrysanthemums. Garden chrysanthemums are now the #1 herbaceous perennial ($114.305 million wholesale in 2013), which is partly because of the University's development of the famous Mammoth series.