North Carolina State University professor Thomas Ranney applied for a new patent for NCMX1, a new type of Magnolia that has large, fragrant red-purple flowers, a late flowering time and an upright form, according to an Oct. 5 filing with the U.S Patent and Trademark Office.
Ranney is the program leader at the Mountain Crop Improvement Lab, located in the mountains of western Carolina at N.C. State’s Mountain Horticultural Crops Research and Extension Center.
The lab conducts research related to the production and improvement of bio-energy, landscape and nursery crops.
According to the lab’s website, “A primary focus is the development of new crops with enhanced adaptability, pest resistance, commercial merit, non-invasiveness, and sustainability.”
Along with NCMX1, other landscape and nursery crop developments have included dogwoods, magnolias, cherries and pears, among others.
NCMX1 is similar to a Chinese Magnolia, but the delayed blooming time, often a month later, allows the plant to avoid late spring frosts.
Ranney received an M.S. and Ph.D in horticulture in 1986 and 1989, respectively, from Cornell University and has worked at N.C State since graduating from Cornell.
He received a B.S. in natural resources from Ohio State University in 1981.