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New flowering plant rings bells for UConn
February 2, 1998

Mark H. Brand, associate professor of plant science, has identified a new, heavy-flowering tree for the region's nursery industry that is similar to the flowering crabapple.

UConn Wedding Bells Carolina Silverbell produces many white, bell-shaped flowers in early May. Its foliage is somewhat shiny, while it produces four-winged fruit in the fall and into early winter. It reaches 15 feet to 20 feet in height.

"The plant is well suited for the Connecticut landscape, as well as all of Southern New England, much of the Midwest and Southeastern United States," says Brand. "It's a very showy plant, an excellent choice for smaller properties where bloom is important.

"The plant blooms very heavily and is just covered with flowers. It begins to bloom at a very young age, which helps the industry to sell it," he adds.

Brand says this particular plant was discovered as an outstanding specimen in Columbus, Ohio, in 1984. He propagated and evaluated it for the Connecticut landscape by testing it with Broken Arrow Nursery in Hamden and at the Plant Science Research Farm on campus. When the plant proved itself, Brand named it and introduced it to the industry at large.

The University is asking for a small per plant royalty and is exploring the possibility of patenting the new plants.

Renu Aldrich