The 1980 Sino-American Botanical Expedition (SABE) to the Shennongjia Forest District, Hubei Province, China, was the first botanical collecting trip by American scientists to that country since 1949. It was significant because the area visited had high species diversity and because the collected germplasm was widely distributed to a variety of botanical institutions throughout North America and Europe. This report documents the survival of this germplasm after 22 years of cultivation. Of the original 621 SABE collections, 258 are represented by plants growing in at least 18 different botanical institutions. The fact that 115 of these collections (45 percent) are represented by a single accession growing in a single location suggests that the plant introduction process is much more tenuous than has been generally assumed. This study also highlights the importance of data sharing among botanical institutions as the most effective way of determining the uniqueness of a given collection and assessing its environmental adaptability or invasiveness, or both, over a broad range.
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Vol. 53 • No. 6