Gnarly Poplar Tree
OTT case 01-035| US Patent No. PP15,613 P2
Woody ornamentals like the “Gnarly Poplar” continue to grow in popularity among professional landscapers and do-it-yourself homeowners because, as opposed to nonwoody ornamentals, they are permanent and, when used creatively, can add vertical dimensional interest that can last for years. Today’s landscape material customers also want plant materials that establish themselves quickly, are low maintenance and are competitively priced. The Gnarly Poplar tree’s contorted characteristics, including zigzagging branches and trunk undulations, make it a unique and highly desirable addition to most landscapes. As another plus, its disease-resistance means that it will not require replacement and upkeep like some other woody ornamentals.
The Gnarly Poplar is a new and distinct hybrid of poplar tree that resulted from advanced-generation breeding of two poplar species, P. trichocarpa (unpatented) and P. maximowiczii (unpatented). Populus maximowiczii, or Japanese poplar, was crossed with Populus trichocarpa, the native black cottonwood of the Pacific Northwest, to produce a group of first generation trees. Male and female interspecific first-generation hybrids were then crossed to produce a second generation of male and female trees. Among the second-generation progeny of some 80 or 90 full siblings, one individual tree alone was contorted.
According to the National Gardening Association, eighty-five million households in the U.S. spent upwards of $40 billion at retail and garden centers in 2002. Increasingly, landscaping is viewed as a means of adding value to property. For example, the Gallup Organization reported that quality landscaping can add between 7 and 15 percent to a home’s value. And a Money Magazine article noted that at selling time, landscaping can return 100 to 200 percent on the investment. Clearly, the public is willing to spend money on landscaping and the popularity of woody ornamentals as part of the package of plant materials used in landscaping will continue to grow.