Provenance Data for collection material?

Randall P. Linke
Fri, 23 Dec 2011 19:05:09 PST

Unless someone hits send before me it looks like I am the first to respond,
so will put my neck on the block with my thoughts.

First, I will conclude that you are talking about the type of botanical
gardens which are seriously interested and active in conservation.  I have
experience with a couple of these, sadly too many are perfectly willing to
destroy prized collections at the whim of a new director who has no
knowledge or personal interest in a particular classification, and sadly
there are many of these so called botanical gardens.

So my first suggestion is there be a systematic rating of botanical gardens
for serious collectors to work with who know that a commitment of the
garden to preserve a collection is long term and will not cut out and turn
under a collection on a whim rather than going through the effort to turn
it over to another conservator.

I therefore believe, the specificity of the location of the source of a
taxa should be tailored to the rating of the institution that is receiving
the information.  Also the release of this information to collectors should
be released in relation to the rarity status of the taxa.  A critically
endangered species with limited range should not have anything beyond the
region revealed.

I do firmly believe in conservation through cultivation.  And I would
encourage botanical gardens to work to propagate and try to make available
rare taxa to the collector community as this would reduce the potential
stress on native populations through collection.  For collectors to know
the source as to who they received the plant from, and hopefully a garden
that knows the actual local source according to their rating, would suffice
for those that are serious about conservation.

And this is where the status of the garden and their commitment to
conservation of their collections is critical.

I just had another thought, as I have also run into the situation of
botanical gardens who won't accept a taxa without a full provenance, which
is laudable but not always realistic if conservation is the goal.  So
perhaps a secondary indicator that lets collectors know that a botanical
garden will accept taxa from collectors based on the level of provenance
available.  After all, many species have come into cultivation to some
degree, many years ago without provenance, and are now rare in the wild.

So those are my rambling thoughts on the matter.  I look forward to hearing
what others think on this issue.

Monterey Bay Area, California

On Fri, Dec 23, 2011 at 6:25 PM, Michael Homick <>wrote:

> Dear Friends
> I am writing this inquiry wearing two hats. One as a collector and grower
> of plants as most members of PBS are, and as the chairman of the seed
> exchange for the North American Lily Society. Most Botanical Gardens are
> not interested in acquiring plant material unless extremely rare, without
> location collection data included. Similarly many private growers also
> request similar data for their collections.
> My question is, where or if a line should be drawn between precision of
> the data and risk to the native population with location data becoming
> public knowledge for poaching. Just checking my Car GPS for driving; it is
> registering N37 degrees 21.143 minutes and W120 degrees 49.663 minutes as I
> an sitting at my computer. I just have to move 6 feet about 2 meters and
> the coordinates change.
> I guess my question is.... for botanical gardens, how precise do you wish
> the data to be, and is there a double standard where botanical gardens
> share info on a more accurate level between each other than for
> dissemination to private growers.
> As time goes on, and with cutbacks to botanical gardens it becomes more
> critical that private collectors step up and maintain some of the material.
> But just how precise should the provenance data be kept? 1.85 meters, 18.5
> meters, 185 meters, 1.85 kilometers,  you get the idea.
> Your thoughts and comments most welcome. Please don't use the coordinates
> above to test any missiles.
> Merry Christmas and seasons best to all,
> Michael Homick, Stevinson, CA
> _______________________________________________
> pbs mailing list

* *
A long habit of not thinking a thing wrong gives it a superficial
appearance of being right. - Thomas Paine  ---

More information about the pbs mailing list