Sale of endangered bulb species

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:09:06 PDT
At the risk of further charging a highly charged but often misunderstood
subject, I would like to offer a few thoughts.
It is best to think of cultivated plants in their entirety as something
completely separate, in any conceptual or practical terms, from plants in
the wild. Their arbitrary separation renders them essentially useless for
biological conservation-- conservation that means something to the organism
rather than us. Rather, such plants (or animals) have great importance and
meaning for humans and to take the argument beyond that is usually

When plants are collected directly for the explicit purpose of conservation
involving replanting or restoration of rare plant habitat, it is a complex
procedure. Many plants must be "sampled" so as to capture suitable genetic
representation of a given population (to say nothing of other populations of
a given species). This might involve 30 or more distinct lines or clones,
whether collected vegetatively or as seed. This material is tracked
throughout the mostly tedious process of introducing plants back into the
wild. The success rate of such projects is depressingly low, in spite of
ongoing enthusiasm for such work.

Plants cultivated by private growers, nurseries, botanic gardens or
researchers, almost without exception, involve a very small original "sample
size" per species or accession. Take a survey of your own collection and see
how many genetically distinct (seed grown or wild-collected) individual
plants you are growing for any given species. How much diversity was present
in the original introduction that led to what you are growing? Do you know
which population the material came from? In most cases we are very lucky to
know a basic locality such as a town name, assuming the grower cares about
this sort of thing.

Imagine the difficulty in bringing together interested parties who might
want to rehabilitate a rare plant. Chances are good it will be funded by
government money (a grant) or from mitigation funds perhaps. It is most
unusual that private collectors would be summoned to participate by
contributing plants from their collection. This is not to say cultivated
plants are not valuable for conservation. But the fact is that obstacles to
getting them back into the wild-- the only meaningful conservation strategy
for plants in horticulture in the longer term-- is arduous and underfunded
on the best of days. Things to worry about such as introducing pathogens
from cultivation to the wild, presence or absence of pollinators,
mycorrhizae and establishing plants in the field are all daunting.

Once removed from the wild, the chances of plants getting back to a viable
position in nature are almost nil. The enjoyment they provide to the grower
and to others is what matters once they are in our hands.

Dylan Hannon

Dylan Hannon Rare Bulbs

On Mon, Jun 23, 2008 at 5:17 PM, Ronald Redding <>

> Alberto
> We share many of the same views and our differences are small I hope the
> material that is sold is for the benefit of the species as well as the
> benefit of individial. I am not in a position to be able to say if anyone is
> a professional or an amateur however I know that any endeavour costs money
> and that we need to protect what is left. That is why it is good to have
> these discussions to find a balance however that balance is never going to
> please everyone. I hope I am making a difference for the good of the plants
> I grow, however they also have costs associated with making sure they stay
> around and produce offspring.  It is truly rewarding to be able to sell swap
> or give away a plant that I have produced however in order for me to produce
> it I have to be able to obtain the parents from somewhere and that is nearly
> always seed. I take care of my plants to the best of my ability and check on
> them everyday as they are all special and would hope that they are all
> treated this way
>  by everyone. I hope everyones intentions are not driven soley by greed and
> money at all costs with no regard for the consequences.
> Love you and my plantsRon ReddingHervey BayAustralia
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