Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Plants, Soils, and Climate

Advisor/Chair:

Roger K Kjelgren

Abstract

Two separate experiments were designed to assess the value of Lacy Buckwheat (Eriogonum corymbosum ) as a low water landscape plant. Low water use landscapes can contribute to water conservation in arid climates. Developing a palette of plants that are both attractive and drought tolerant can promote the acceptance of low water use landscapes as an alternative to the traditional bluegrass landscapes of the Intermountain West. Eriogonum corymbosum is an attractive subshrub species native to low rainfall areas of the Colorado Plateau. A strip plot design containing four repetitions with four randomly assigned plants each of Eriogonum corymbosum , Eriogonum thompsoniaeand the control species Cornus sericea `Kelseyi' was established to determine E.corymbosum tolerance to frequent irrigation. Two water treatments were assigned to the repetitions for each species. One treatment was watered by a drip irrigation system with sixteen liters of water every three days; the other treatment was not watered. Stomatal conductance (Gs) and plant water potential were assessed weekly for each species from June through August for the years 2009 and 2010. In 2009 and 2010 bothEriogonum accessions showed no significant difference with the water treatment/accession interaction. NeitherE. corymbosum accession exhibited differences in stomatal conductance or water potential between the wet and dry treatments for the length of study season over both years.Cornus sericea `Kelseyi' showed less ability to withstand the prolonged dry frequencies. Eriogonum corymbosum has many aesthetic qualities, in addition to being drought tolerant, such as long duration late season blooming of yellow and white flowers, and an appealing hemispherical crown shape. A second study was designed to investigate the morphological diversity of thirteen Eriogonum accessions collected in the state of Utah and established in a common garden. Nineteen different variables made up of both quantitative and qualitative morphological characteristics comprised of leaf, canopy and floral characteristics were selected to compare between and within accessions. These characteristics were observed or measured, then used in a Multidimensional Preference analysis (MDPREF) to facilitate the selection of potential cultivars. The MDPREF is useful in selecting accessions with unique combinations of ornamental characteristics that could have a marketable advantage.

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Biology Commons

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