Newswise — Sept. 24, 2018 – There’s some wild plants afoot! A series of blog posts in Sustainable, Secure Food highlights the important role crop wild relatives, the wild and weedy cousins of domesticated crops, play in future food security.

  • Conserving wild crop cousins: Crop wild relatives are some of the most promising resources in plant breeding, helping breeders create cultivars adapted to extreme conditions. 
  • Frank Meyer – an early plant explorer: Feeling the spirit of adventure? Crop wild relative conservationists certainly do! Read about one early explorer. 
  • Yam- a main staple in Africa, Asia: I am what I yam! Knowing crop family relationships for yams and other crops helps breeders and farmers identify the best species to use to overcome insect, disease, and climate pressures.
  • The cranberry – a very American berry: Preserving crop wild relatives in their habitat is a ‘berry’ good idea, thanks to conservation in our national forests. Take a sweet look at tart cranberries.
  • Call of the wild sunflower: Do you hear it? It’s the call of the crop wild relative! Wild sunflowers often grow in extreme environments with hot summers, cold winters, and not much water. Plant breeders can use these tough plants to improve and protect commercial sunflowers as new challenges arise. 

This blog series is part of the celebration of Crop Wild Relative Week, September 22-29, by the Crop Science Society of America. These wild relatives are important to today’s domesticated crops. To learn more about Crop Wild Relatives, visit for stories, videos, blogs, infographics, and research.

This blog is sponsored and written by members of the American Society of Agronomy and Crop Science Society of America. Our members are researchers and trained, certified professionals in the areas of growing our world’s food supply, while protecting our environment. They work at universities, government research facilities, and private businesses across the United States and the world.

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