A published study co-authored by NTBG Conservation Biologist, Seana Walsh, revealed different plant species, even ones that are closely related, require different collection strategies and many collections currently fall short of conservation targets, further highlighting the importance of botanical gardens and arboreta worldwide.
The study included 11 plant taxa among five genera, including Kauai’s two fragrant, white-flowered endemic Hibiscus taxa held in multiple collections, including NTBG’s Limahuli Garden and McBryde Garden.
Field work by NTBG staff and interns to collect samples of both Hibsicus taxa for the study was done from 2015 to 2017 and the molecular lab work for those taxa was done between 2017 and 2019 at Chicago Botanic Garden by colleagues including former NTBG intern, Susan Deans. Results for the two Hibiscus help inform optimal collection and curation sizes for organizations and institutions working together to conserve them, including NTBG. Between 38 and 58 wild individuals of H. waimeae subsp. waimeae and between 54 and 123 of H. waimeae subsp. hannerae are needed to capture nearly all of the genetic variation of the species.
NTBG’s participation in this project underscores the importance of collaboration across geographic distances and illustrates how research can help botanical gardens and arboreta work together to improve our collecting and curation strategies to protect rare plant species.
Read the full article: https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rspb.2020.0102