On September 23, the Society of American Florists hosted SAF Orlando 2021, the association's 136th Annual Convention, at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort in Orlando, Florida, where they honored Dr. Scott Trees with the Gold Medal Award during the Stars of the Industry Awards Dinner.
The SAF Gold Medal Award honors the originator or introducer of a widely distributed plant or flower that has become established as an outstanding product of significant horticultural and commercial value.
Scott Trees, Ph.D., a prolific breeder of ornamental plants who retired in late June, spent 40 years in the industry after receiving his doctorate in plant genetics from the University of California-Davis. He served as breeding director for several divisions of the Ball Horticultural Company, including PanAmerican Seed, Ball FloraPlant, Darwin Perennials and Star Roses & Plants.
Trees has patents for 309 plants, as well as several seeds. Among them: verbena, impatiens, salvia, snapdragons, cestrum, scabiosa, phlox and more than 100 geraniums.
While his initial focus was seed breeding, Trees patented his first plant in 1987. “Prior to this, he'd already been with us for nearly a decade, and all of his efforts had been for seed breeding,” says Marvin Miller, Ph.D., AAF, Ball’s market research manager who presented the award to Trees.
In addition to these core crops, Trees has a special skill for identifying potential new crops. He created the AngelMist Angelonia series, which was the first commercial Angelonia on the market.
While most of Tree's efforts have involved annual garden flowers, he has also bred poinsettias, roses and a number of perennials. Most recently, he bred both “Glitz” and “Glamour,” the only two seed varieties of Euphorbias on the market. Industry observers think of these as baby's breath for combo planters for the garden.
Even as Tree shifted his focus to vegetative items, he continued helping with seed projects, even as he eyed retirement, says Miller, who doubts his long-time colleague will completely abandon his passion and talents in his downtime. “He has a large greenhouse at his home in California,” he says. “I suspect we will see more inventions from him.”
More images from the SAF Awards presentation can be found here.