Tecophilaea Cyanocrocus

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Mon, 05 Sep 2011 10:12:25 PDT
I've said this before, but I believe that Josh has a point here. If better efforts are made to get seeds or offsets of the really desirable plants into the hands of those, like almost everyone on this list, who want and will take care of them, I am certain it will take a lot of pressure off the efforts to exploit wild populations into extinction. (Hopefully we won't see much more of the kind of stories where they put a wild-collected bulb in every cereal box!)
I think virtually everyone on this list totally supports the conservation of wild populations of bulb species on every continent. I don't think that's the problem. 

On the other hand, you're not ever going to get people like all of us to stop wanting to obtain and grow all these amazing species. All we want is the opportunity to share in the excess of seeds, and eventually plants, of these species. 

I've pointed out before to several people on this list, what I think is a great recent example of what could be done with many other species. When the new species Clivia mirabilis was unexpectedly discovered in a region of South Africa that no one expected in the early 2000s, the plant authorities in that country knew that the entire population possibly could have been collected if efforts to protect it weren't quickly implemented. So they placed the area it was found in under protection and there were already laws being passed in that country to protect all of the native flora. But places like Kirstenbosch realized that despite all that, it would be even better if all the people who wanted it could somehow get it. Which would greatly ease the pressure for poaching to occur. So they collected a large number of seeds legally, announced to the world that they were doing so, and that after they had grown the seedlings for a couple of years, anyone could purchase one or more (up to a limit of 4 I think it was), at a completely reasonable price. And they even went to the effort to centralize the distribution to each country in order to comply with phytosanitary certification and importation quarantines and rules. I was able to obtain two of them (which I still have) at a far more reasonable price than I've seen lately for this species from people who have gone on to produce seeds and plants of it since then. Nowadays, you can go on tours that the Clivia Society puts on from time to time to see the plant in several native locales, and as far as I can tell, no one seems to be wanting to try and sneak some plants from those locations because they can get them far more easily from people who grow them in captivity, so to speak. I think Kirstenbosch's plan was brilliant, and it worked.

I think a similar thing, on a lesser scale is true of the efforts of a number of Australians along with the Worsleya email list, in making both seeds and plants of Worsleya procera (the "Blue Amaryllis") available to the world at large. Worsleya is still very rare, and hard to keep growing until you can figure out the right growing regimen under your local conditions. But at least it has gotten to the point that you don't need to surreptitiously consider, in the privacy of your own home of course  ;-), how you might someday try to make a trip to the Organ Mountains of Brazil to smuggle a bulb or some seeds out in order to ever try growing it for yourself…

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USA - USDA Zone 10a
Latitude 34°N, Altitude 1150 ft/350 m

On Sep 4, 2011, at 5:13 PM, Joshua Young wrote:

> Alberto,
>   I don't think it's just the younger crowd that are eagerly awaiting the
> presence of the rarer Amaryllids into their collection considering their
> beauty.  I think this is why it's important for many to share their
> collections to avoid people for searching at whatever cost and it's quite
> difficult to find many seasoned growers that are willing to offer offsets to
> places like PBS of incredibly rare species.  It's also sad to see others
> that do offer seed or offsets of rare species for prices in the several
> hundreds of dollars making them even more unobtainable for many.
>   Luckily there are some who are willing to donate offsets and seed and I
> honestly think it does take a large amount of stress from wild populations.
> Josh
> On Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 7:55 PM, Alberto Castillo
> <ezeizabotgard@hotmail.com>wrote:
>> Harold, you were present, along with Peter Goldblatt, Brian Mathew, Martyn
>> Rix, Alan, Fred Meyer, Adrian, Chuck Hardman and scores of others when Mike
>> Read and Faith Thompson Campbell unmasked the frantic Cyclamen plundering in
>> Turkey. You were the Chairman of International Bulb Society in those glory
>> days.
>> The extent of the looting was such that even here in farway Argentina huge
>> hederifolium tubers (dessicated and hopeless) were available for sale.
>> Granted the leaading case was mirabile but the fact that ALL cyclamens are
>> CITES plants for years indicates all species were threatened.
>> Rodger, it was Stan Farwig, in all they were three letters and they
>> appeared in Pacific Horticulture mag in the Readers Letters section. I would
>> strongly recommend reading them to the generation of younger growers. that
>> are so eager to obtain the rarest amaryllids "without asking much". Stan's
>> arguments were demolishing. I don't remember the arguing was nasty, only
>> that it exposed a founding father.......

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