Meadowfoam Breeding Program

Meadowfoam breeding at OSU


Why Breed Meadowfoam at OSU?

Meadowfoam produces oil that is highly prized by the cosmetic industry due to its long chain fatty acid chemistry. Currently OSU is researching additional uses for this crop, including fuel additives, lubricants, and pharmaceutical uses. Since commercial development of meadowfoam began in the early 1980’s, OSU has released eight varieties. Meadowfoam has proven to be a great choice for local farmers as it is a good rotation crop for the Willamette Valley grass seed industry. The breeding program is currently operating on a maintenance level until further funding becomes available.


  • Breeding improved varieties
  • Investigate pesticidal properties of meal

Current Research Projects

  • Selection toward:
    • Higher seed yield
    • Higher oil content of seed
    • Pest and disease resistance, especially to Meadowfoam Fly and Fusarium disease.
  • Autofertile characteristics
  • Reduced seed dormancy, high germination, and seedling vigor
  • Molecular marker development
  • Investigating the use of meadowfoam meal as a bioherbicide

Graduate Student Expectations

The meadowfoam breeding program is not currently accepting graduate students.

Breeding Methods

The meadowfoam breeding project uses recurrent selection on half-sib families to achieve breeding goals.


Oregon Meadowfoam Growers (OMG)


  • Carol Mallory Smith
  • Mary Slabaugh
  • George Hoffman
  • Ralph Reed
  • Jun Zhang
  • Fred Stevens
  • Oregon Meadowfoam Growers

Past and Present Graduate Student Projects

  • Jun Zhang - Finding physiological and harvest maturity, biosynthesis of seed glucosinolates, breaking seed dormancy, seed storage condition, and genotyping by sequence which is focusing on finding SNP markers related with seed oil content.
  • Venkata Kishore - Molecular marker development, and the construction of a genetic map for meadowfoam.
  • Pablo Valesco - variation in glucosinolate content in meadowfoam.


Meadowfoam is an oilseed crop native to vernal pools in Oregon, Northern California, and Vancouver Island, BC. The two subspecies used in agriculture are Limnanthes alba spp. alba and Limnanthes alba spp. versicolor. Meadowfoam is a naturally outcrossing crop due to flowers which are protoandrous and heterostylous, although self-pollination is possible.

Economic Significance

Current annual sales of Oregon meadowfoam oil is $2 million. Meadowfoam is one of few winter annuals that fit nicely into a grass seed rotation. Also, meadowfoam has been anecdotally shown to “clean up” fields, and there is interest in investigating fungicidal, nematicidal, and herbicidal properties that would benefit Willamette Valley farmers growing high value seed crops. Meadowfoam is a very exciting niche crop to work with due to its recent domestication, potential for autofertility, interesting applications for use in cosmetics, and potential as a non-toxic lubricant for use in the food processing industry and many other areas.

Staff Profiles

Jennifer Kling - Professor/Senior Research, is the solo project lead for the OSU meadowfoam breeding project. Dr. Kling holds a Ph.D. in Genetics with a minor in Statistics from North Carolina State University. Prior to her work at OSU, she was a maize breeder at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria. Jennifer is also renowned on the OSU campus for her expertise in experimental design, and statistics related to plant breeding and genetics.

Publications and Varieties Released

  1. Slabaugh MB, Cooper LD, Kishore VK, Knapp SJ, Kling JG. 2015. Genes affecting novel seed constituents in Limnanthes alba Benth: transcriptome analysis of developing embryos and a new genetic map of meadowfoam. PeerJ 3:e915

  2. Valesco, P., M.B. Slabaugh, R. Reed, J. Kling, V.K. Kishore, J.F. Stevens, and S.J. Knapp. 2011. Glucosinolates in the new oilseed crop meadowfoam: natural variation in Section Inflexae of Limnanathes, a new glucosinolate in L. floccosa, and QTL analysis in L. alba. Plant Breeding 130: 352-359.

  3. Hamblin, M.T., T.J. Close, P.R. Bhat, S. Chao, J.G. Kling, K.J. Abraham, T. Blake, W.S. Brooks, B. Cooper, C.A. Griffey, P.M. Hayes, D.J. Hole, R.D. Horsley, D.E. Obert, K.P. Smith, S.E. Ullrich, G.J. Muehlbauer, and J.-L. Jannink. 2010. Population structure and linkage disequilibrium in U.S. barley germplasm: implications for association mapping. Crop Sci. 50: 556-566.

  4. Yallou, C.G., A. Menkir, V.O. Adetimirin, and J.G. Kling. 2009. Combining ability of maize inbred lines containing genes from Zea diploperennis for resistance to Striga hermonthica (Del.) Benth. Plant Breeding 128: 143-148.

  5. Castro, A.S. Petrie, A. Budde, A. Corey, P. Hayes, J. Kling, and K. Rhinhart. 2008. Variety and N management effects on grain yield and quality of winter barley. Crop Management, Nov. issue. Online.

  6. Adamson, S.J. 2006. Plant variety protection certificate (#200600269) for Ross Meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  7. Adamson, S.J. 2005. Plant variety protection certificate (#200500279) for Starlight Meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  8. Crane, J.M. and S.J. Knapp. 2002. Registration of Wheeler meadowfoam. Crop Sci. 42: 2208-2209.

  9. Adamson, S.J. 2002. Plant variety protection certificate (#200200077) for Wheeler Meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  10. Crane, J.M. and S.J. Knapp. 2000. Registration of Knowles meadowfoam. Crop Sci. 40: 291- 292.

  11. Hostetler, W. 1999. Plant variety protection certificate (#9900298) for Knowles Meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  12. Johns, T.R., D.M. Burgett, and G.D. Jolliff, Pollination and seed set in Meadowfoam, EM 8666 (Oregon State University, Corvallis, 1997)

  13. Ehrensing, D.T., G.D. Jolliff, J.M. Crane, and R.S. Karow, Growing Meadowfoam in the Willamette Valley, EM 8567 (Oregon State University, Corvallis, revised 1997)

  14. Jolliff, G.D. 1994. Plant variety protection certificate (#9200257) for Floral meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  15. Brugett, D.M., Glenn C. Fisher, Daniel F. Mayer, and Carl A. Johansen, Evaluating Honey Bee Colonies for Pollination: A guide for Growers and Beekeepers, PNW 245 (Oregon State University, Corvallis, reprinted 1993)

  16. Jolliff, G.D. 1986. Plant variety protection certificate (#8500166) for Mermaid meadowfoam. USDA, Washington, D.C.

  17. Calhoun, W. and J.M. Crane. 1984. Registration of 'Mermaid' meadowfoam.  Oregon Agric. Exp. Stat., Corvallis, OR.


Varieties Released

  1. Foamore (1975)
  2. Mermaid (1984)
  3. Floral (1993)
  4. Starlight (2004)
  5. Knowles (1998)
  6. Wheeler (2000)
  7. Ross (2003)
  8. Crane (2013)