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-M Horticulture professor Mary Meyer spearheaded the initiative, partnering with the Arboretum, the College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences and U-M Extension.
After considering more than 100 different plants nominated by the public from early February through April 15, a panel of experts met to determine the final top 10. Plants were judged by their impact − both positive and negative − in six areas: environmental, economic or industrial, cultural/spiritual, historical, sustenance and landscape.
Without further ado, the top 10 plants that changed Minnesota are:
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 discussion were buckthorn, Eurasian milfoil, hosta, grapes, potatoes and sugar beets.
The top 10 list kicks off a yearlong educational campaign that will take place throughout the state, including curricular materials in K-12 schools, a freshman seminar at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in conjunction with CFANS, games at the State Fair, and online information for teachers, Extension Master Gardeners, Master Naturalists, 4-H groups and all Minnesotans.Source: U-M Extension