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Chinese Flowering Shrub Heading for U.S. Market

December 21, 1993

WASHINGTON (AP) _ A Chinese flowering shrub with colored petals - a close relative of the witch hazel - is being introduced to the United States by the U.S. National Arboretum here.

Two types of the bush, called the Blush and Burgundy Loropetalum, bear pink flowers and their foliage starts off reddish-brown and matures to olive green. Loropetalum previously cultivated in the United States bears only white flowers and has green foliage.

″The process of introducing pink-flowering Loropetalum is similar to that when the first pink-flowering dogwoods were introduced after only white ones were available,″ said chief horticulturist Sylvester March. ″Although not as commonly used as the dogwood in landscaping, Loropetalum really should be used more, as it has many favorable traits.″

The shrub can grow as high as a small tree and has graceful arching branches, closely resembling the witch hazel, he said.

March said he first noticed the pink-flowering strain in 1989 in a Japanese horticulture magazine and asked a former director of the National Arboretum to bring back samples after a visit to Japan.

The two types of shrub have been distributed to about 40 nurseries and gardens and should be commercially available in about two years, March said.

The new shrubs are easy to grow and prefer slightly acid, peaty soil and full sun to partial shade. They do well in warm climates and are hardy, but they lose their leaves in colder zones.

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A popular new yogurt-juice beverage that captured more than a 5 percent share of the juice market in a major U.S. metropolitan area has the National Dairy Board scrambling to help marketers.

The board is funding in-store sampling across the country and providing matching funds for companies starting in the new dairy category to promote the new product.

The project began a year ago when the board approved money to help market ″Kemps Yo-J,″ a yogurt-juice beverage competing with juices.

Dairy-juice blends hold more than a 5 percent market share of the juice market in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where the products were initially targeted, said David Haley of Marigold Foods, Inc., the makers of Yo-J.

The dairy board discontinued funding Yo-J exclusively after several other beverages were introduced to the market.

The board will back companies that introduce a unique and different product and spend at least three times the board’s contribution.

″This program encourages companies to invest in new products and build new dairy categories to sell more milk,″ said Bill Underwood, a New York dairyman and board member.

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