Re: Wild Plants

Phil (
Mon, 23 Oct 1995 22:03:57 GMT

Hi everyone,

It seems fairly obvious to me but there is surely a world of difference
between the collection of a few wild plants, specifically selected for
form by an enthusiast, and the wholesale collection of plants presumably
for commercial reasons. The commercial collector is unlikely to be too
worried about the impact he or she is making on the site they are
plundering (hence the evidence found by Barry) and I wonder just how
many plants taken actually survive past twelve months.

If collected properly a few specimens taken from the field should have
little if any impact on the wild population and can actually serve to
preserve rarities when found. If only a small portion of rhizome is
taken presumably the remaining piece will produce new growth points and
eventually new crowns. Interestingly then if collected properly the
original plant will eventually have several growing pints to replace the
original one.

Seed collection is a good alternative but where a specific form is involved
seed is unlikely to come true unless the plant is selfed (and even then it is
not guaranteed).

The point that really seems to have been missed is that there is no point in
protecting the plants from collectors if the sites are going to be cleared
anyway for yet another KFC etc. When I was in northern Florida it was really
noticeable how much pressure there is on land use. Virtually the only large
expanses of Sarracenias left are in the National Forests where there is both
protection and management. Elsewhere many of the populations are now limited
to roadside verges. I have heard of quite a few sites (and have personal
knowledge of at least one) that have disapeared because of land development.

There is no easy solution but I certainly agree with Fernando that the
collector shouldn't get such a bad name. There are many valid reasons for
collecting plants from the wild and as usual it's not quite as simple as is
made out.