Helping Plants Move with Climate Change

J.E. Shields
Wed, 11 Nov 2009 09:56:19 PST
Another item of interest in today's Sigma Xi - American Scientist < > daily e-newsletter:


A Hunt for Seeds to Save Species, Perhaps by Helping Them Move

from the New York Times (Registration Required)

CHICAGO -- Pitcher's thistle, whose fuzzy leaves and creamy pink puffs once 
thrived in the sand dunes along several of the Great Lakes, was driven by 
development, drought and weevils into virtual extinction from the shores of 
Lake Michigan decades ago.

But in the 1990s, seeds collected from different parts of the thistle's 
range were grown at the Chicago Botanic Garden and planted with the help of 
the Morton Arboretum along the lake, in Illinois State Beach Park, north of 
Chicago near the Wisconsin state line. The plants from Indiana's dunes to 
the south are doing well; the plants that had come from the north are failing.

With those mixed results in mind, scientists from the botanic garden are 
sending teams out across the Midwest and West to the Rocky Mountains and 
Great Basin to collect seeds from different populations of 1,500 prairie 
species by 2010, and from 3,000 species by 2020. The goal is to preserve 
the species and, depending on changes in climate, perhaps even help species 
that generally grow near one another to migrate to a new range.


Perhaps Boyce can tell us how this is working?

Jim Shields
in sunny but chilly Westfield, Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA
Tel. ++1-317-867-3344     or      toll-free 1-866-449-3344 in USA

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