GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Which plants changed Minnesota and transformed how we live today?
That was the big question behind a public education campaign led by the University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. U of M Horticulture professor Mary Meyer spearheaded the initiative, partnering with the Arboretum, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (CFANS) and U of M Extension.
After considering more than 100 different plants nominated by the public from early February through April 15, 2012, a panel of experts* met to determine the final top ten. Plants were judged by their impact – both positive and negative – in six areas: environmental; economic or industrial; cultural/spiritual; historical; sustenance; and landscape.
Drum roll! Without further ado, the top ten plants that changed Minnesota:
- American Elm
- Purple Loosestrife
- Turf and Lawn Grass
- White pine
- Wild rice
The judges and the public were in agreement on seven of the plants: apple, alfalfa, corn, soybeans, wheat, white pine and wild rice. But the committee concluded that American elm, turfgrass, and purple loosestrife also have played a major role in the landscape of the state. Plants that didn’t make the list but that received a lot of discussions were buckthorn, Eurasian milfoil, hosta, grapes, potatoes and sugar beets.
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