AgEBB-MU CAFNR Extension

David Burton
Civic Communications Specialist
2400 S. Scenic Ave.
Springfield, MO 65807

January 5, 2018

Greene County Extension Horticulture Educator Receives Master’s Degree;
Thesis Project Focuses on Elderberries

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - Kelly McGowan, horticulture educator with University of Missouri Extension, graduated Friday, December 15, 2017, from the University of Missouri in Columbia. She received a Master of Science degree in Natural Resources with an emphasis in Agroforestry.

Included in the degree program was a thesis project on elderberry flower production entitled "Flower Production and Effect of Flower Harvest in Six American Elderberry (Sambucus Canadensis) Genotypes."

"Due to the health benefits of native American elderberries, demand for products containing elderberries continues to grow. Elder flowers are thought to have similar health benefits as the berries and demand is expected to increase," said McGowan.

The University of Missouri has been a pioneer in elderberry research for over 20 years including research of health benefits, evaluation of native germplasm resulting in two cultivar releases (Bob Gordon and Wyldewood), and commercial feasibility studies.

The elderflower production study was recently funded by a USDA Specialty Crops Block Grant to continue the project for an additional two-three year period. This study will take place at the MU Southwest Research Center in Mt. Vernon with a replicated site at the MU HARC (Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center) in New Franklin.

Funding will also be used to evaluate healthful compounds in the flowers.

The project abstract also received approval for a presentation at the International Horticulture Congress conference in Istanbul, Turkey in August 2018.

McGowan is headquartered in Greene County and coordinates Master Gardener volunteers in the county as part of her work responsibilities. She can be reached by telephone at (417) 881-8909 or by email at

Photo available for following caption Photo credit: MU Extension

Photo of Kelly

Photo available for following caption Photo credit: MU Extension

Photo of Elderberries

Source: Kelly McGowan, (417) 881-8909

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