The AAS Breeders Cup Award was established in 2004 to recognize a plant breeder who dramatically influenced horticulture by breeding new cultivars that brought about significant improvements. The 2020 Breeder’s Cup Award recipient is Dr. Jianping (Ping) Ren, senior plant breeder at PanAmerican Seed Co. With 2020 being the 25th anniversary of Wave petunias, the timing of this award is quite significant and memorable for the company

Ping Ren Ping Ren earned her Ph.D. from the Plant Breeding Department at Cornell University where she worked on vegetable breeding two years before joining the flower industry. Ping joined PanAmerican Seed in 2001 as a flower plant breeder. For the past 20 years, Ping has worked on Petunia, Calibrachoa, Gaillardia and Echinacea. There is a long list of about 150 vegetative and seed propagated varieties coming from Ping’s breeding, a number of which are the recipients of horticultural industry awards, including All-America Selections.

The six varieties that have won AAS awards are: the first F1 Gaillardia Mesa Yellow (2010), Echinacea PowWow Wild Berry (2011), ‘Cheyenne Spirit’ (2013), Sombrero Baja Burgundy (2019), Petunia Tidal Wave Red Velour (2015) and Wave Carmine Velour (2018). Many of these varieties have also earned multiple other industry awards. In addition, Ping’s co-invention of the petunia green corolla allele gene has been broadly used in Petunia breeding across the industry, resulting in the introduction of numerous unique colors of Petunia associated with this discovery. An allele is a specific variant of a gene. Ping’s breeding has focused on Wave Petunia, Sombrero / Double Scoop and Artisan Echinacea.