Ph.D., Louisiana State University, 1987
Graduate Faculty Memberships
Northwestern University, Program in Biology
selected Professional Associations
Chair and Manager, Chicagoland Grows® Plant Introduction Program
My main research is the development through conventional plant breeding practices of herbaceous perennial plants for garden cultivation in climates similar to the midwestern United States. Currently most of the priority genera in the breeding program are taxa indigenous to North America. We have a wealth of naturally occurring plant taxa that are still largely unexplored as subjects for garden cultivation. I peruse the ecological and systematic literature for genera that produce interspecific hybrids in situ and attempt to reproduce these hybrids under controlled conditions. Advanced generation breeding and selection can produce unique genotypes with novel ornamental attributes of flower color and fragrance, plant habit, better cold and heat tolerance, and improved adaptability to the stressors encountered in urban landscapes such as compacted and alkaline soils. The major taxa under current study include coneflowers (Echinacea), false indigos (Baptisia), phlox (Phlox), and speedwells (Veronica). Individual plants are selected, clonally propagated for evaluation, and if field evaluations prove successful, introduced through the Chicagoland Grows® Plant Introduction Program.
I am also interested in plant tissue culture techniques such as clonal propagation of individual genotypes and embryo/ovule culture of wide-hybrid crosses. Conventional plant propagation studies (rooting cuttings and seed germination) also support the breeding program.
Ault, J. 2009. Baptisia australis and other false indigos. Perennial Plants Fall:7-20.
Ault, J.R. and S.S. Siqueira. 2008. Morphogenetic response of Lilium michiganense to four auxin-type plant growth regulators in vitro. HortScience 43(6):1922–1924.
Ault, J. 2008. Lilies for Chicagoland. Chicagoland Gardening. July/August:18.
Jefferson, L.V., Pennacchio, M., Havens, K., Forsberg, B., Sollenberger, S., and Ault, J. 2008. Ex situ germination responses of midwestern USA prairie species to plant-derived smoke. Am. Midl. Nat. 159(1):251-256.
Ault, J. 2006. Perennial research at the Chicago Botanic Garden – an update. Perennial Plants (2)6-11.
Ault, J. 2006. Coneflower, Echinacea species. In N.O. Anderson (ed.) Flower Breeding & Genetics: Issues, Challenges, and Opportunities for the 21st Century 799-822. Springer, Netherlands.
Jefferson, L., K. Havens, and J. Ault. 2005. Implementing invasive screening procedures: the Chicago Botanic Garden Model. Weed Technology 18:1434-1440.
Ault, J. 2005. A new dawn for baptisias. NMPRro 21(4):37-44.
Ault, J. 2004. Explant initiation date and BA concentration influence shoot proliferation in vitro of two Liatris interspecific hybrids. HortScience 39(5):1098-1100.
Ault, J. 2004. The Chicagoland Grows plant introduction program – a model for success. Acta Hort. 630:113-118.
Ault, J. 2004. What’s new in the world of coneflowers (Echinacea). Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 54:402-406.
Ault, J. 2004. Breeding new perennials for midwestern gardens. Perennial Plant Association 2002 Proceedings 11-14.
Ault, J. 2003. Breeding and development of new ornamental plants from North American native taxa. Acta Hort. 624:37-42.
Ault J.R. 2002. Micropropagation of the rare Lakeside daisy (Hymenoxys acaulis var. glabra). HortScience 37(1):200-201.
Ault, J. 2002. Echinacea evolution. NMPro. 18(11):34-36.
Ault, J. and R. Hawke. 2001. The Top Performing Plants from the Evaluation and Breeding Programs at Chicago Botanic Garden. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 51:401-407.
Ault, J. 2001. Penstemon grandiflorus, the pride of the plains. Bull. of the American Penstemon Soc. 60(1):8-14.
Ault, J. (Editor). 2000. Plant exploration: protocols for the present, concerns for the future. Symposium proceedings. Chicago Botanic Garden, Glencoe, Ill. 87.
Ault, J. 2000. Ornamental plant development at Chicago Botanic Garden. Landscape Plant News 11(2):2-7.
Ault, J. and R. Hawke. 2000. Breeding and evaluation of perennials at Chicago Botanic Garden. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 50:337-340.
Ault, J. and K. Havens. 1999. Micropropagation of Baptisia 'Purple Smoke'. HortScience 34(2):353-354.
Ault, J.R. 1996. In vitro rooting and greenhouse acclimatization of Veltheimia bracteata and V. capensis shoots. HortScience 31(7):1229-1230.
Ault, J.R. 1995. In vitro propagation of Eucomis autumnalis, Eucomis comosa, and Eucomis zambesiaca by twin scaling. HortScience 30(7):1441-1442.
Ault, J.R. 1995. In vitro rooting and greenhouse acclimatization of Lachenalia shoots. HortScience 30(6):1304-1305.
Ault, J.R. 1994. In vitro propagation of Eriostemon myoporoides and Eriostemon 'Stardust'. HortScience 29(6):686-688.
Ault, J.R. 1994. Mediterranean plants under glass at Longwood Gardens. Comb. Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 44:104-107.
Ault, J.R. 1992. In vitro propagation of a Silene hybrid (S. polypetala x S. virginica). HortScience 27(11):1226.
Wetzstein, H.Y., Ault, J.R. and Merkle, S.A. 1990. Factors influencing somatic embryogenesis and plantlet regeneration in pecan, Carya illinoensis. Acta Hort. 280:69-74.
Wetzstein, H.Y., J.R. Ault, and S.A. Merkle. 1989. Further characterization of somatic embryogenesis in pecan (Carya illinoensis). Plant Science 64:193-201.
Wetzstein, H.Y., S.A. Merkle, J.R. Ault, and H.E. Sommer. 1988. Somatic embryogenesis in pecan (Carya illinoensis). SAAS Bulletin Biochem. Biotech. 1:64-68.
Ault, J.R. and W.J. Blackmon. 1987. In vitro propagation of Ferocactus acanthodes (Cactaceae). HortScience 22(1):126-127.