First of all, I admit I don't know anything about conservation. I do, however strive to be a good environmental steward, which is why I'm asking the experts here before proceeding. In October this year, I visited a property with a rumored population of purpurea and Drosera. Upon exploring the site, we found no Drosera, but we did locate one lone (and rather sad looking) purpurea. Its eight seed pods were bursting with ripe seeds. Leaving most of them intact, we collected the seed of, I think, two pods, spreading the seed near the parent plant and in three or four very nearby patches of ground that I thought would like if I were a little seedling. I also collected some 100 or seeds to propagate in my collection. This is all with the enthusiastic permission of the property owner. Now most of the seeds I took home have germinated, and (finally) here is where I'm asking for some help.
My plan is to evaluate the site this year, and possibly manage it a little, to pick out the best specific location(s) to reintroduce some yearlings next year.
My questions are:
Should I? That is, is it GOOD to intervene and help along a struggling population?
And how should I? Are there any hygiene practices I need to know to not contaminate or negatively impact the rest of the site?
Please feel free to answer questions I don't know to ask as well, or tell me I'm a bad person for collecting the seeds to begin with (I'm not, though, I'm actually a pretty great dude).
I don't want to share publicly, but if any of our esteemed members are interested in the site location, please feel free to message me privately.
Post by meadowview on Jan 24, 2019 17:17:41 GMT -5
Good hearing from you and your efforts. I'm presuming you are probably in a northern state where S. purpurea is not legally protected and you are working with the landowner on their land. I'm also presuming there are more pitcher plants on the site that you haven't found, although it is possible you are down to the sole survivor (it's been known to happen).
There are a number of people and professionals that are absolutely against doing anything in this kind of situation. In fact, people with that mindset would call spreading seed on-site "gardening". I'm not one of those people.
I think you are reasonably safe and on good scientific ground spreading the seed locally on the site and pruning any encroaching vegetation that may be negatively affecting the plants. That's called restoration. I would be hesitant to encourage you to replant seedlings that you have raised at home since that's where you might cause some real damage. Raise them for fun and as backup - that's a good plan.
Let me know how it goes and what else you find.
Phil Sheridan, Ph.D. President and Director Meadowview Biological Research Station
Phil, Thank you for your advice, and your assumptions are correct. I'll be exploring there a bit this summer, so we'll see how the seeds fare and if there are more than the one adult, or if any of the drosera pop back up. Cheers
Very touchy subject, but I completely agree with Dr. Sheridan's approach. I think if those professionals who object had the insights and experience us cultivators have, they'd see the logic behind it. Humans have brought back many animal species from the verge of extinction via similar approaches, it's proven if done the right way.
However, as alluded to above, there are many ways you can approach this completely wrong and do more harm than good to the site (ie. unknowingly introduce pathogens, screw up the local genetics, or introduce invasive plants/pests). In my opinion, only semi-sterile seedlings of verified genetics that are scrutinized by professionals and are verified originating from a close relative population (provided the original population is bottle-necked or down to an unsustainable amount of indivdiuals) are qualified for reintroduction. Sure, sprinkling seeds can work, but there's a reason these plants produce so many seeds: there's generally a low long term survival rate. We can easily overcome that by getting the plants started and strong enough to have a higher chance of long term survival.
Fact remains, the land and climate have changed drastically in relatively recent times, quite possibly faster than the plants can evolve to adapt to the changes. I don't know of a purpurea that can outgrow an emerging forest or grassland that's so much thicker these days due to invasive species and increased nitrogen deposition in the soil via fossil fuel buring. In some cases, if we want these plants to persist over time, we have to counter act those drastic environmental changes.
Regarding sprinkling seeds collected from the site and distributed back to the site, there's zero harm in that. However, if there's only one plant left, this suggests the habitat is becoming unsuitable for the plants for some reason, so you'll have to figure that out in order to succeed long term with restoration efforts. chances are, consistent maintenence of the site may be needed long term. Sadly, very few natural Sarracenia habitats in the wild today are thriving without human intervention. On a more positive note, many remaining Sarracenia habitats are thriving because humans are maintaining them!
Last Edit: Jan 24, 2019 18:34:20 GMT -5 by meizzwang
Is it good to intervene and help along a struggling population?
I would argue yes, in certain circumstances. Growing up in GA, I watched several nearby Sarracenia minor colonies die off from wetland drainage and overgrowth. I rescued a few plants from plots that were bulldozed over (after asking the landowners), but the others just slowly dwindled away. I regret not getting a rhizome cutting or seeds after contacting the landowner.
I have a couple guidelines to think of when it comes to taking plants from the wild. It really just comes down to your motivations. If you just want to sell or trade it, leave it. If you think it's a nice addition to your collection, it's still better off in the wild. If there really is a factor threatening the plants' survival, then it may be okay to propagate. This after contacting the owner. Some landowners are already working with conservationists. If you happen upon a rare species, contact someone who knows what they're doing first.
In my case, I was able to naturalize the pitcher plants on my parents' property. I am currently raising clones from divisions to get more seeds to spread to other areas that have potential. The Sarracenias would be extinct from that site without intervention, so why not give it reintroduce them to a suitable area, or at least have plants as a backup? My parents' land also have sundews that easily sprout from seed. In fact, D. capillaris and brevifolia are more like annuals and will grow on tilled soil! I'm not sure about the temperate species, but I'd be optimistic.
I should also add that my parent's land was developed too. Patches of the original wiregrass understory remain, but even they are sparse and threatened by invasives. The Sarracenias are naturalized along an artificial pond where sundews, bladderworts, and bog orchids had already been growing. Since that part of the property was already slightly developed and more in danger from other factors, I wasn't too concerned with directly planting there. If the habitat you find is more pristine, seed sowing may be better.
Looks like you're off to a good start and did the right thing. Good luck!
I agree with Phil and the others, especially about performing what is called an "enhancement" in wildlife management terms. You encourage what is already there to multiply. As long as you are not breaking any laws, your primary other concerns are:
1. Are you putting seed from the immediate area in a place where it will have a good chance for survival? 2. Is the site viable, long-term, or will competition, moisture patterns/hydrology negate your efforts? 3. Are you introducing a life form not present in the habitat?
This last question is one reason you're better off not reintroducing seedlings back into the site, as meizzwang points out. Most brands of peat moss, for example, contain traces of the pathogen Pythium. Other fungi or microscopic pests, such as Broad Mites, could infest your collection of seedlings and get planted, along with the seedlings. These are invisible to the naked eye.
In fact, one could argue that your hands may serve as a vector for disease or non-native microbes, so putting on, e.g. nitrile gloves before handling the seed on site might be a good idea. Another step would be to make sure your shoes are clean; before you step foot into the area (far outside the area), blast the soles of your shoes/boots off with a strong jet of water or put on a cleaned pair of boots, shoes right before you step into the area. Add to this clothes that have not been exposed to other sites, especially plant-growing or agricultural areas and you'll have covered most of the sanitary precautions.
Thank you all for your thoughtfulness and generosity in sharing your knowledge. I am always impressed with, but never surprised by, the wealth of information available on this forum.
For now, I'll make my observations on the current population and the viability of the site itself. My preliminary theory is the exact location of the one purp is not a sustainable CP habitat, and that the population is in fact dwindling, but I hope to find some more mature plants, seedlings, or even Drosera this summer.
I have access to lab space near the site, so I may run some tests on soil and water, and it's even possible to propagate in a much more sterile manner there if the eventual goal is to reintroduce seedlings.
I will definitely revisit this thread with updates or further questions.
One other thought about this: location, location, location! Even within a bog, if you don't place the plants in the exact "right" spot, they won't live long term. Also, they may require significantly higher levels of maintenance if not placed in the right spot. Every species has their own unique needs. To the best of my knowledge, meadowview and ABG have the most experience with reintroductions, and I'd work closely with them if you plan on doing anything of this nature.
I've done restoration work here in California and augemented a near extinct population of Lewisia rediviva by starting new colonies in the same field. medium-small, very healthy, semi-sterile 1 year old, genetically diverse seedlings were used. If you use seedlings that are too small, they'll take years before they flower. Too big and they get targeted by insects and animals.
It took years to figure out how to do it right. It was a lot of trial and error, with more failures than successes, but the successes taught me the importance of ID'ing that exact right micro-environment. You have to think of the site in terms of many years from now, not just how good it looks now. In the end, the successes made up for all the failures and more!
One of the new populations I started is still alive 10 years later (with literally zero management), they're flowering and producing seedlings, so I know it worked! The new population will persist long after I'm gone. 2 other attempts have persisted for 3 years now, so there's hope those populations will survive long term as well.
This is why a professional with experience is needed if you want to succeed with re-introductions, it takes a lot of experience to do it right. Some very rare populations on the brink of extinction can't afford trial and error, you sometimes only get one shot at it. Let's not forget, the most important thing is that the property needs to have an easement or some legal form of protection that prevents development forever.
Post by beautytubes on Jan 26, 2019 3:14:27 GMT -5
I fully agree with the response above. Since it is so important I risk the danger to bother you:
PLEASE DO NOT RESTAURATE WITHOUT HELP AND EXPERTISE BY ECOLOGISTS AND BIOLOGISTS!
There are so many things to consider and easily a weak but still existent population could be destroyed. Additionally our planet beside of our carnivorous plants is full of different biomass. It could be that by re-introducing plants, diseases can be introduced too, genetic pools maybe destroyed, etc.
Only experts can understand any complex eco-system and know what to do.
Please do not understand me in the wrong way; I really appreciate your engagement and enthusiasm! You are one of the minority thinking about conservation at all. The mainstream will have no idea what individuals are living outside and they will even don’t miss a black bird.
What can you do now:
Try to figure out the land owner. Maybe he is able to assist you in trying to keep the biotope clean and healthy, maybe be controlled and moderate cutting of grass and small trees (which is a very relevant reason for the extinction of Sarracenia in biotopes which are healthy basically).
Here in Austria we have land owners who are happy if we mow the grass and remove it from the land (getting out nutrition’s). They don’t use the land anymore because of too low economic benefits. By doing so groups here could recover sites for wild orchids and all other important insects, birds, snakes,…
Unfortunately there could be a contra productive effect: If we tell farmers / land owners that seldom orchids are growing there, they destroy the biotope immediately to reduce the danger of any conversion into a protected area by the government (which will reduce the land price dramatically). Hence careful approaches are the right choice for first discussions.
Another hint: Not finding Sarracenia means not that it disappeared necessarily: I visit sites in US frequently. It can differ from year to year what you will find there. There are years I do not find even one Sarracenia individual and two years later you find plenty of them including seedlings…
One of the most professional conservation activities I know is done by Atlanta Botanical garden. They are doing a great job!! Maybe you can asak for help there?
So please be careful and ask experts!
Nevertheless thank you for this thread and wake up our senses for site conservation!!!!!!
sanguinearocks101: What are good plants to make hybrids with S. luecophylla with? Im looking for dark colors.
Sept 10, 2020 18:46:52 GMT -5
adaetz100: Sarracenia purpurea tends to add a lot of red/purple to its offspring, but there are some lovely dark red flava x leucophylla crosses too. Look up 'Royal Ruby' if you're not familiar with it already--it's a natural flava x leuco hybrid
Sept 22, 2020 20:15:04 GMT -5
sarrseens: How about $50
Oct 3, 2020 10:35:54 GMT -5