White listing [WAS Phytosanitary certificates and cessation of trade]

Hannon othonna@gmail.com
Mon, 09 Feb 2009 18:20:24 PST

I'd like to see that link if you find it.

In case some readers are unfamiliar with the idea, a "white list" for
our purposes means a "vetted" or sanitized list of plants that we have
permission to grow. At least that is how I understand this scheme
essentially works in Britain. This is based on the idea that plant
varieties already in the U.S. need not be screened for introduction
purposes. "We" is anyone who cultivates plants here, whether in the
nursery trade or as hobbyists, breeders, etc. It is all of us.

This approach ostensibly streamlines bureaucracy and makes everyone's
life easier, even the growers'. When a nurseryman checks the list and
sees that the plants he wants to offer-- right down to the cultivar
level-- are on the white list then he has no in-country worries
(excluding exports) as far as legitimacy of introduction or
establishment in the trade.

Correspondingly, there is in fact or implied a *black list* of plants
that must go through some type of evaluation process (not yet
established in the U.S.) as to its suitability for release in the
United States. Other countries, mostly EU and UK/Commonwealth have
worked out these mechanisms already. The black list consists, by
definition, of all the known (and unknown) species and cultivars not
appearing on the white list. To make up such a list is impossible and
so it is a sort of functional "non-list".

I've probably risked Mary Sue's wrath or ire already, but would like
to add one last note on this subject.

Assuming one subscribes to this idea as a potential way to deal with
plant imports, there is one critical question (of several) that is not
easily resolved: how to know what plants should be placed on the white
list? How to know what is in cultivation in the U.S.? There is a group
based at Missouri Botanical Garden that is currently working in this
direction and apparently they mean to be as inclusive as possible. As
I understand it, the project's main purpose is to produce a cultivated
flora of the U.S., much in the same manner as they produce extremely
useful floras and checklists for places like China (!), Peru, Ecuador,
etc. Such work would not normally concern us as far as government

In other words, if you have a world class collection of species tulips
or Oxalis in your back yard, these should be included somehow to make
the white list as beneficial as possible. How they plan to outreach
and discover this outstanding wealth of plant life-- by some accounts
more diverse than what is grown in all our botanical gardens
combined-- is anyone's guess.

Dylan Hannon

On 09/02/2009, Michael Mace <mikemace@att.net> wrote:
> Dylan wrote:
>  >>The one exception was the Nature Conservancy, which took a contrasting
>  view
>  regarding imported plants. My recollection was that while they did not
>  take up an entirely negative position, they would favor
>  Australian-style hyper-regulation regarding imports of new plants.
>  I can't find the link now, but there is (was?) a website on which the Obama
>  campaign solicited public input for the new administration.  The Nature
>  Conservancy's submission strongly supported the creation of a whitelist.
>  Mike
>  San Jose, CA (min temp 20F)
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