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Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other= Arisaema Enthusiast Group (AEG) Discussion List (and other=
Fri Mar 8 15:47:56 CET 2002

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From: "J.E. Shields" <jshields104 at INSIGHTBB.COM>
Subject: More on conservation
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Dear all,

Conservation is a fascinating problem, full of contradictions.  There are
some people in the field who have a "take no prisoners" attitude toward
anyone who disagrees with them but especially toward those within the
conservation community.  I find that very counter-productive.  All sides
have some truth in their arguments, all sides seem to be wrong about part=s
of the picture.

I'm new to Arisaema and am not familiar with the field.  Sources, what is
rare and what is common, what sources are reliable and which are not, etc.

If you want your collection of plants to have any conservation value,
perhaps you should  consider the following points.

1.  Provenance is the most important datum you can keep about your
plants.  Provenance is where the plant came from -- ex hort (from gardens=)
including almost everything in commerce; and wild collected, which has ma=ny
sub-categories, are the two main classifications.

2.  Genetic diversity is related to whether we are propagating one or a f=ew
clones, or are propagating by seeds.  A wild population is going to have
many similar by different genomes.  To preserve the species in cultivatio=n,
one needs to get a broad sampling of the genetic variability in the wild

We all know that plants in cultivation can be here today and gone
tomorrow.  I try to not grow just a single clone of anything.  Pascal's
point about propagating the rare species you already have is a very good
one.  Besides vegetatively propagating your rare plants, I would hope to
see everyone trading offsets, so that no rare plant is represented in onl=y
one collection or by only one genetic individual (i.e., all the same clon=e).

I am not engaged in growing rare or many Arisaema, but I do work with alo=t
of uncommon to rare bulb species.  My goal is always to have several
genetically distinct individuals of any species I grow, and to
cross-pollinate among them to produce genetically diverse seeds.

Pascal and Ray voice concern about messing up the species with undocument=ed
hybrids.  I agree completely -- don't do it if you cannot keep good
records.  Indeed, if you cannot keep good records, you are not going to
contribute to conservation no matter how many rare species you know how t=o

By the way, I have heard friends in botanic gardens complaining about the
lousy, mongrel seeds they receive from some other botanic gardens in seed
exchanges!  Even the professionals can mess up sometimes, and they are
trying NOT to.  I can image what mess-ups occur in gardens that don't try
to keep careful records.

If I am boring everyone to death, I will desist.  I am conservation chair
for the International Bulb Society, and I sometimes get a bit worked up o=n
the subject myself.  It is a very frustrating area to try to accomplish
anything in.

Jim Shields
in central Indiana

Jim Shields             USDA Zone 5             Shields Gardens, Ltd.
P.O. Box 92              WWW:
Westfield, Indiana 46074, USA                   Tel. +1-317-896-3925

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