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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Introduction

The Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research (PGITR) Unit, otherwise known as the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS), is one of the four Regional Plant Introduction Stations in the National Plant Germplasm System (NPGS) with the responsibility of maintaining seed and clonal plant genetic resources and making them available for researchers around the globe. WRPIS is a cooperative effort supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service (USDA, ARS) and the Western Regional Agricultural Experiment Stations in the following 13 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. WRPIS is located in Pullman, WA, USA. Initiated in 1947 as the Multistate Research Project W-006, WRPIS had the primary mission of acquiring new plant germplasm and establishing a maintenance program.

Currently, WRPIS has five curatorial programs maintaining over 92,000 accessions of important plant germplasm and three mission-related research programs in disciplines of agronomy, plant pathology and genetics. The curatorial programs concentrate on cool season legumes, cool season grasses & safflower, horticultural crops, common (Phaseolus) bean, and temperate forage legumes, with the latter administered as a distinct program as described below.

The cool season food legume program takes care of some 22,400 accessions of pea, chick pea, lentil, faba bean, lupine, grass pea and other minor grain legumes and their wild relatives; the cool season grasses & safflower program manages 21,800 grass and 2,400 safflower accessions; the common bean program curates a collection of 17,300 accessions of common bean lima bean, runner bean and related wild species; and the horticultural crops program deals with a total of 10,700 accessions of a wide spectrum of plant species including 2,700 sugar and table beets, 2,100 lettuce, 1,100 garlic, wild onion, and 4,500 miscellaneous ornamental and medicinal plants.
 
The National Temperate Forage Legume Genetic Resource Unit of WRPIS conserves, manages and promotes the use of a diverse seed collection of forage legumes. Forage legumes are plants traditionally used to feed animals. Alfalfa, red and white clover are familiar forage legumes. These plants are also important for improving soil health, preventing erosion, and reclaiming contaminated soils. Because they contain healthful nutrients, they are increasingly found in grocery stores as sprouts, teas and herbal preparations.

The Forage Legume seed collection contains over 13,200 accessions representing over 230 species in the plant genera, Medicago, Trifolium and Lotus. The collection contains old and new cultivars, primitive landraces, wild types of cultivated species and wild species collected from around the world. This unit is located at the Washington State University Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser, Washington. This location provides adequate growing conditions for the production of high quality seed of a wide range of forage legume germplasm.

Last Modified: 5/3/2013
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