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K-State Today

October 4, 2016

Horticulture and natural resources assistant professor presents results from two projects at International Society for Horticultural Science symposium

Submitted by Sarah Hancock

Chad Miller, assistant professor of ornamental horticulture, presented research findings from two projects at the 12th International Society for Horticultural Science Flower Bulb and Herbaceous Perennial Symposium in Kunming, China, this summer.

Miller's first presentation, "Effects of pre-plant bulb soaking in flurprimidol and paclobutrazol on growth and development of three amaryllis (Hippeastrum) cultivars," built on his previous collaborative work to improve production and product handling protocols for amaryllis growers. His second presentation was a poster titled "Effects of planting depth and mulching on the perennialization of several small geophytic species."

Two manuscripts based on the presentations are forthcoming in symposium proceedings and the Acta Horticulturae journal.

Conference attendees were able to visit the Kunming Botanical Garden to observe plant collections and learn about the Yunnan Agricultural University and Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences activities at the garden. They also visited a large greenhouse production area of the Yunnan province and saw chrysanthemum cutting production, potted orchid production and other greenhouse facilities.

Miller was able to discuss potential collaborations with researchers from Mexico, Israel, the Netherlands and New Zealand, and he was asked to assume a larger role in the Flower Bulb and Herbaceous Perennial working group of the International Society for Horticultural Science. 

"I was asked to join the scientific committee to review a portion of the submitted manuscripts to facilitate publishing the proceedings from the symposium. There is a good chance to serve on the committee for the next proposed symposium planned for South Korea in 2020," Miller said.

The plants Miller studies have great aesthetic appeal, and "bulbs" are part of a larger category of plants called geophytes. Geophytes include important food sources such as potatoes and onions, and many are adapted to endure extreme climates. Research in the field could help improve food security in the face of climate challenges.

"There are exciting opportunities to better understand various geophytic species that can enhance our lives both aesthetically and nutritionally," Miller said.

Miller's travel was supported by the horticulture and natural resources department and a Faculty Development Award from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs in fall 2015.

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