Tecophilaea Cyanocrocus

Jane McGary janemcgary@earthlink.net
Sun, 04 Sep 2011 11:12:41 PDT
At 03:46 AM 9/4/2011, you wrote:
>Hi Alberto,   I cant imagine how anyone could justify taking something so
>beautiful from its native environment, unless it was its last chance of
>survival. What an earth were those Netherlanders thinking..... I have never
>seen these little sapphires before & i was wondering if any sustainable
>population survived in the wild, once the original population was removed ?

First, as I mentioned in an earlier post, at least two native 
populations have been discovered recently in the wild. The exact 
locations are not being disclosed by the botanists who found them, 
for obvious reasons..

Second, although it is true that some Tecophilaea cyanocrocus were 
taken to Europe, John Watson (as always) had something memorable to 
say about that, to the effect that the apparent extinction of the 
species was more likely caused by overgrazing than by "spade-wielding 
peasants in the pay of villainous Dutchmen." If you have been to the 
former habitat of this species, you will know that much of the land 
is now covered mostly by vegetation that is either thorny or 
poisonous or both, almost everything else having been devoured by the 
thousands of goats kept there by rural people who maintain them 
largely for cheese production. (Fortunately for our interests, the 
showy amaryllids of the area are poisonous.)

The introduction of Old World livestock into the Americas is surely 
the cause of a large proportion of the plant extinctions that have 
occurred there, not to mention violent and rapid changes in plant 
communities and subsequent effects on the fauna. Something similar 
happened in the Old World millennia ago when pastoralism took hold.

Jane McGary
Portland, Oregon, USA

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