Re: Re: Barry's ruminations

Wayne Forrester (forrestr@mendel.Berkeley.EDU)
Thu, 19 Oct 1995 08:16:16 -0700 (PDT)

> The largest CP source has been the "wild" for me. I say "wild" because
> while the plants are/were growing in these spots as wild populations
> the locations themselves are no longer wild. "Soon to be a parking lot"
> is were almost every single S. leucophylla I have came from. These
> plants had reached the end. Their seeds were not going to leave the
> site as it was hemmed in by roads and the rhizomes I took would not be
> doing very well under the layer of asphalt. I really can't say I've
> saved them, but they are going into their third year past the one during
> which they were scheduled to die as rest of the hundreds in that popula-
> tion did. Scraping some Drosera out of a roadside ditch isn't going
> to have an impact any greater than someone squishing them up by walking
> along the road...

I doubt anyone would argue that collecting plants from a site clearly
doomed by development was harmful. In fact, collecting plants that are
going to be destroyed by development is one of the few cases where
collection of wild stocks is clearly justified.

> Looking through wild populations is the only way 'new' types of plants
> are going to be found. Yes, now and then you might get an anthcynian
> (sp?) free seedling but would people be growing yellow and orange flowered
> S.psittacina if none looked and then took? Same for those red,red,red
> S.flava.
> Barry, when and if you get that all green S.leucophylla, chances have it
> that it will be of wild stock. Someone will probably be out in the field
> taking photos when they notice that a particular S.leucophylla has got a
> green/yellow flower instead of the usual dark red. This *is* how 'new'
> forms get into cultivation-no other way. This is how I got a cutting
> of a S.minor which has a very distinct purple shading. When it does
> flower, I plan to self it and distribute the seeds. If it does prove
> to be unique, then this will be how it got into cultivation. The
> parent plant is still in the swamp minus a crown, which I'm sure has
> already grown a replacement. The worse that might have happenned is
> that one of thousands didn't flower the next spring.
I think this raises a much more difficult question; whether one is
justified in collecting unique examples of a particular species. I have
no problem with collecting seed on a small scale from an interesting new
variety. The problem is, of course, that one never knows if the seed will
germinate,or if the interesting trait will be passed on to the next
generation. Although collecting seed also impacts on the plant
populations, I would guess that such impact is minor.
On the other hand, collecting plants is likely to have
more significant impact. The reason is that most seed fail
to develop into an established plant, whereas collecting an
adult plant is removing an already established plant. Perhaps
removing a portion of a plant is fairly non-invasive and does no
real damage to that plant. On the other hand, cutting a rhizome exposes
tissue not normally exposed, and could permit entry of any of a number of
different type of parasite, ultimately leading to the demise of the plant. I
doubt that there have been systematic studies to show that cutting a
Saccarenia rhizome does no harm to the plant. Thus, type of collecting
may not be as non-invasive as it seems.
I, like most of us growing CP love to see those varieties in
cultivation so that we can aquire them and watch them grow, and
hopefully reproduce and distribute them. In fact, I would argue
that it's our responsibility to do so, because it is unlikely
that wide-spread habitat destruction is going to stop anytime
soon. Therefore, many of these varieties will be lost forever
unless propogated in peoples greenhouses or windowsills. I just
think we need to be very careful that the mechanism by which we
obtain plants does not harm wild stands in any significant way.

I think I've spouted enough for now.
Wayne Forrester