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Review Article|28 Jan 2015|OPEN
State of the science and challenges of breeding landscape plants with ecological function
H Dayton Wilde1 , , Kamal J K Gandhi2 and Gregory Colson,3
1Horticulture Department, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
2Daniel B Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
3Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail:

Horticulture Research 2,
Article number: 69 (2015)
Views: 680

Received: 17 Nov 2014
Revised: 19 Dec 2014
Accepted: 20 Dec 2014
Published online: 28 Jan 2015


Exotic plants dominate esthetically-managed landscapes, which cover 30–40 million hectares in the United States alone. Recent ecological studies have found that landscaping with exotic plant species can reduce biodiversity on multiple trophic levels. To support biodiversity in urbanized areas, the increased use of native landscaping plants has been advocated by conservation groups and US federal and state agencies. A major challenge to scaling up the use of native species in landscaping is providing ornamental plants that are both ecologically functional and economically viable. Depending on ecological and economic constraints, accelerated breeding approaches could be applied to ornamental trait development in native plants. This review examines the impact of landscaping choices on biodiversity, the current status of breeding and selection of native ornamental plants, and the interdisciplinary research needed to scale up landscaping plants that can support native biodiversity.