Donate Scionwood To USDA

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Use the contact us link.

I had a question recently and they replied within a few days.


I sent them scions of a couple of mulberry selections several years back. Don’t recall it being all that difficult to do.

Out of complete, idle curiosity, I wonder if they make you tell them the provenance, and if so, what would happen if you put, “stole scion from Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew around 1975,” or something like that. I mean, I presume there’s a statute of limitations of those sorts of crimes, so if it was long enough ago, would they accept it?


Hilarious post.
What sort of material do you have that you’re looking to donate?

LOL. My donations were a M.rubra selection out of AL and a M.rubraXalba hybrid from here in KY; neither of which were(at the time) held by more than 2 or 3 individuals.
I need to check to see if they were able to get the M.rubra grafted and growing… grafts here on M.alba understock died out - as they did at other locations - and the last time I was ‘home’ to AL, I found the ortet dead. It was a really good one, but may be lost to the ages.

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I would suggest looking at the USDA page for the collection of interest and find the contact information for the collection curator. For instance, the pear curator in Corvallis OR is Joseph Postman and Thomas Chao is the curator for apple, grape, and tart cherry in Geneva, NY. They could tell you what whether they would be interested in adding new accessions and why or why not. At least for apple, I think the focus has been on adding wild germplasm that can be studied for traits that could be useful in breeding. Also cider. And not running out of space for trees. I think I read somewhere it cost them about $50/tree/year to maintain but I cannot find that source at the moment.

Below is another good link. Shows who are on the Crop Germplasm Committees and has many annual reports that you could read through to understand what is going on with a collection.


Talked to Tom Chao on Saturday about this during the once-a-year walking tour of the USDA-ARS orchard in Geneva. He said they are not actively soliciting scionwood. He didn’t rule out accepting donations, but since it is a complicated and expensive process of isolating donations, checking for viruses, and verifying the identity of donation, among other things, he wasn’t encouraging it either. With the other repositories, public and private, now collecting, I think it may be less essential now than it has been. Those are my impressions from the conversation.


That was my impression from what Thomas Chao said on Saturday as well.