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About Janice M. Coons

My research has the overall focus of understanding the reproductive biology of plants that are native to Illinois. Currently my emphasis is in two areas. One area deals with plants that are endangered or threatened in Illinois. These studies seek to identify factors that limit the success of these plants including many reproductive ones such as development and pollination of flowers, development and production of fruits and seeds, dispersal and longevity of seeds, dormancy and germination of seeds, and development of seedlings. These studies include laboratory, greenhouse and field components. Findings of these studies are used by biologists within the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and other agencies to make better informed decisions relative to management of natural areas where endangered and threatened plant species are found.
Another area of my research is the use of native Illinois plants in landscaping. This area ties to reproductive biology because little is known about the culture of most native plants using pots or containers in greenhouses, which is a common practice for growing herbaceous plants frequently used in landscaping. My research investigates factors that are needed to propagate healthy, flowering plants in a period of time that is short enough to be economically profitable for greenhouse producers. These factors include seed treatments, vegetative propagation, container types, water/fertilizer/media needs, light requirements, flower development, and pest problems. Most production studies are done in laboratories and greenhouses, but we also have an outreach component that involves outdoor gardens where gardeners around Illinois have planted native plants (produced in our studies) in their home and community demonstration gardens. These gardeners evaluate plant performance regarding establishment, appearance, flowering, fertilizer/water/soil/light needs, pests, and other problems. We also have outreach via workshops and articles to gardeners and the Green Industry to share information we have gained in our research studies as well as general information about using native plants in landscaping.
My teaching includes mostly classes in horticulture and plant physiology. These classes have an active lab component to involve students. In addition, I mentor several students doing undergraduate and graduate research. These student projects frequently result in presentations at professional meetings. Student accomplishments with these projects are recognized by grants, awards, and publications.


Present Professor Emeritus, Eastern Illinois University Biological Sciences


Research Interests

Articles (9)