rare plants - Nature article

aaron floden aaron_floden@yahoo.com
Tue, 22 Feb 2011 07:19:16 PST

            I agree Max, I don’t
see how this article was seen as fit for publication as it loosely links
together completely different issues merely by mention – Melaleuca tied to the
30 billion mentioned as damage caused by non-native plants on the cultivation
of non-native plants (crops). They don't seem to mention the cultivation of sugarcane in the Everglades which damaged that ecologically sensitive area far more than Melaluca. Nevermind the amount of native plants and habitat destroyed by CRP programs, grain cultivation, soy, etc. But, since it was featured in Nature and
subsequently on NPR I bet it won’t be long before there is a new gov. agency
set up for exactly what these two were writing about.

            First they
claim that 10% of the 753 federally listed plants are available for sale for in-state
purchase, then go on to say that most of these sales are illegal, as more than
50 sellers offering the plants for interstate
sales only 4 had the proper license. Seems there is disconnect between the two
as in-state and interstate are completely different issues as the authors later note. The authors then complain that half
of the endangered plants are available for sale outside their native state, or,
almighty benevolent government forbid, overseas…. Example: Asteropyrum asterias
native to a small area of Mexico
and Texas can
be bought as cultivars in at least 6 states and several countries! They also
say they discovered that Brighamia was available for only 29.95 online yet is
known from only 10 wild plants. And, Echinacea tennessensis is now so readily
available that it might be removed from the federal list! They warn that a
recent hybrid between it and E. purpurea might infiltrate it genes. Nevertheless,
E. tennessensis occurs with two other Echinacea species in its native range.
Echinacea taxa are nearly as promiscuous as Aquilegia and phylogenetic analyses
have suggested that many taxa are merely ecoptypes. It was offered as a hybrid
in the nursery trade to circumvent the stupid law that limited its cultivation
and nearly doomed it to extinction. 
            I guess the number one issue is that the nursery trade and individuals who propagate plants have been far more effective at increasing the quantity of a rare taxon and making it available in cultivation than the government has in its 40 year existence of the federal program. The argument could also be made that the government created many rare taxa; the bald eagle, American barberry, the wolves out west, etc......

            To combat potential hybridization of
hybrids with endangered taxa they suggest that the sale of hybrids with an
endangered species as a parent be banned.


--- On Tue, 2/22/11, Max Withers <maxwithers@gmail.com> wrote:

From: Max Withers <maxwithers@gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [pbs] Changing seasons + rare plants
To: pbs@lists.ibiblio.org
Date: Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 1:10 PM

On another topic, I wanted to note a somewhat confusing article in the LA
Times about a call for enhanced regulation of the trade in rare plants.
Excuse me if this was discussed here before, but I just noticed it:

The equally confusing Nature article referred to is here (for subscribers):

The argument about Brighamia insignis is nonsensical -- if ex-situ
conservation is the only chance of a species's survival, shouldn't that be
encouraged? I'll avoid further pontification, but I did think it interesting
that Nature saw fit to publish this.

Max Withers
Oakland CA

> Message: 3
> Date: Sun, 20 Feb 2011 17:27:18 -0800
> From: "Robin Hansen" <hansennursery@coosnet.com>
> To: "Pacific Bulb Society" <pbs@lists.ibiblio.org>
> Subject: Re: [pbs] Changing seasons
> Message-ID: <5EADC8B9DBB04445AD22EB6457DB6D0E@homed4aec9b2d8>
> Content-Type: text/plain;       charset="iso-8859-1"
> Some other signs of spring ---
> Trillium kuryabayashii in full bloom, Erythronium 'Pagoda' in bud, blooming
> always well before E. tuolumnense, all the Ipheions of course - actually
> they're later than usual.  These are in an unheated, shaded poly house.
> Scoliopus (hallii or bigelovii) is finished and the other is beginning to
> bloom.  Can anyone give me a simple way to tell them apart?  The one just
> finished has well-spotted leaves, the other doesn't seem to as much, but
> whenever I've been around them, clouds of flies depart.  Now if they would
> just set seed!
> Cyclamen pseudibericum is beginning to bloom and repandum,et al.  I think
> I'll just call them "repandum complex" for now.  Do I hear cries of "Oh,
> horrors -can't she figure it out!"?
> Well, no, my undisciplined mind seems to veer off into other things...
> It has been alternately freezing and raining at night, but the English
> violets in my mother's lawn are blooming.  Her daffodils are in bud.  Mine
> aren't there yet.
> Even one or two pots of little Scilla bifolia are beginning to flower, and
> the Synthyris from up on the Umpqua River in south central Oregon is in full
> bloom.
> I can't repot fast enough now to be ready for spring plant sales and
> there's still lots of seed to sow.
> We have turned the corner into the approach to spring - and oh, how welcome
> it is!
> Robin Hansen
> Hansen Nursery
> Southwestern Oregon, USA


More information about the pbs mailing list