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  • February 12, 2020 8:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Spider mites, (Family Tetranychidae, Order Acari), are not insects; they are from insect hell and are very small arachnids closely related to spiders and ticks. Among plant pests, mites are among the most difficult to control, and are responsible for a significant portion of all pesticides used on ornamentals. Individual spider mites are almost microscopic, yet when they occur in large numbers, they can cause serious plant damage. Once present, spider mites are seldom eradicated, and are almost undetectable even by the best of scouts.

                Spider mites that commonly cause damage on ornamental plants include the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae Koch. There are other speices, but I want to pick on this little beast.

                The life cycle of the two-spotted spider mite is typical of warm weather spider mites, including the tumid spider mite. At 85–90 degrees F, complete development from egg to adult can occur in as little as seven to eight days. That is a lot of young’uns. All life stages may be present throughout the year, depending on the weather. When temperatures are cooler, development may proceed more slowly, requiring up to four weeks for completion. Still, that is still a lot of young’uns. Host plant species, plant nutrition, leaf age, and moisture stress also influence development. Many generations occur each year, depending on the species of spider mite. For those of us who have temperature-controlled greenhouses or conservatories, the spider mite can be a year-round problem. On a scale of 1 to 10, I find managing these little monsters about a 9.9. The problem is scouting. Young eyes, old eyes, it doesn’t matter.

                Adult female two-spotted spider mites are about 0.5 mm long, light green with two brownish black spots on either side of the abdomen. Color will vary according to diet and environmental conditions. Males have pointed abdomens and are more slender than the rounded and plump females. Now, personally, I have never been able to tell the girls from the boys, they are equally hateful. Females lay between 90 and 110 eggs during their lifetime. Eggs hatch into six-legged larvae, which then develop into protonymphs, followed by the deutonymph stage prior to adulthood. Yada, yada, yada. Now, personally, I can locate mites or damage easily with or without a hand lens. Yet, I can show the exact same leaf to someone else and I get the look like… “What?!”

    Know your bugs fool. It may be the difference in this:

    To this:

    I mean really guys; how do you not see this?

                Under hot, dry conditions, two-spotted spider mites thrive: more eggs are laid, development is at a higher rate, and survival of adults is extended. Conditions of high moisture are known to slow the dispersal of mites.

                So, what to do about this pesky critter? The problem is, there is never just one. One day you see nothing and the next day your plant is covered in webbing and you stand there wondering what the heck just happened and contemplating a new job. Been there, done that. I know bugs, but how did you sneak in?

                Growth is slowed with higher humidity, so syringing is a great option. I love to blast those devils, and, in my case, I find it fairly successful. I use little to no chemicals, so scouting is a must. Hand picking leaves, syringing, applying beneficials (I like Phytoseiulus persimilis), culling, praying, cussing are all valuable tools in controlling these creatures.

                And believe me, if you can survive a greenhouse covered in webbing and mites and live to tell the tale, you can handle anything! Well, maybe not thrips.

    Until next time...

    By Denise Rogers, Curator of Horticutlure, North Carolina Zoo

  • January 07, 2020 11:58 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    SePPCon 2020 will be held at The Southeastern Center for Conservation at Atlanta Botanical Garden the week of March 2 – 6, 2020. 

    Southeastern Partners in Plant Conservation will bring together government agencies, land managers, botanical gardens, university programs, experts, professionals, and other interested parties to build capacity and promote novel partnerships for plant conservation in the Southeast. Working with a wide range of stakeholders that represent diverse interests and perspectives, this effort seeks to stimulate collective successes in local, state, and regional plant conservation.

    SePPCon 2020 sets the stage for success by promoting models of success and creative solutions to conservation challenges and builds on the success of the inaugural SePPCon 2016 Conference.  For more information and to register, visit - https://atlantabg.org/conservation-research/outreach-education-and-training/southeastern-partners-in-plant-conservation/

  • November 17, 2019 10:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Original printing in 1988

    by Chuck Rogers Curator of Horticulture (Retired)

    Zoological Society of Philadelphia

    "What's a nice horticulturist like you doing in a zoo?" might be a subtitle for this paper about zoos and zoo horticulture.  For many years, the zoo gardener was thought of as a person who cut grass, trimmed hedges, and pulled weeds whether employed by the zoo or the Public Parks Department. Their role was only cosmetic to make the appearance of the zoo acceptable.

    As zoos shifted their approach from barred, bare cages to exhibits and natural living habitats, the need for more landscape design, especially within habitats, changed the role of the gardener from merely maintenance to an active participant in the exhibit and natural habitat process.  Where were the resources for this new horticultural direction? Few, if any, books or articles were available in the 1960's and 1970's. Rarely was zoo horticulture a topic at zoo conferences and no network of professional zoo gardeners was in place. Some form of communication between zoo gardeners and horticulturists was needed to exchange success in the use of plant material in habitats; to compare what plants do well in tropical habitats; and to discuss toxic plants. The only communication between zoo horticulturists was developed among several friends over the years. The big question among zoos and zoo horticulturists was where to get information and from whom.

    Recognizing the need, the Philadelphia Zoo organized and sponsored a conference to be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in August 1980 to address the growing importance of horticulture in zoos. The title chosen was the 1st International Conference for Zoo Horticulture and the intended purpose was as follows:  The purpose of the Conference for Zoo Horticulture is to explore ways that a more enlightened approach can be planned to promote the necessary partnership of horticulture and zoology. The exchange of ideas, experiences, and knowledge in a gathering of persons of like training and interest is one of the most effective ways to communicate these ideas.

    The conference was convened with 30 full-time delegates and 15 part-time delegates. Participants came from 18 American zoos, Kuwait, and Nigeria; truly an international conference from the beginning. Paper sessions included topics on grasses and bamboo, native American plants, tropical plants, plants for animal habitats, browse programs, and a most enlightening one on plant toxicity. Field trips to rare botanical institutions included the Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania, Henry Foundation, and Longwood Gardens; introducing delegates to new plants and new ideas for landscape design. The conference was a great success with many lasting friendships developed through the experience and knowledge gained during the conference.

    The conference would not have been as successful without the support of Ernie Chew of San Diego Zoo, Steve Wachter of Minnesota State Zoo, Brookfield Zoo, and others. Thursday evening's session was listed on the program as, "Wrap-Up Session Where Does Zoo Horticulture Go From Here?" Results of that evening session was the formation of the Association of Zoological Horticulture, an organization dedicated to the promotion of horticulture as an integral part of zoo design; to support and promote the conservation of endangered species as well as endangered habitats; to hold an international conference annually for the sharing of new ideas and information about plants and their role in zoos; to publish a newsletter; and to promote zoo horticulture as a profession.

    Selected to form an organizing committee responsible for the direction and management of the Association until the next conference when the first election of officers would be held and the bylaws enacted were Chuck Rogers, Philadelphia Zoo conference host; Craig Carpenter, North Carolina State Zoo; and Steve Wachter, Minnesota State Zoo.

    In the ensuing ten years since the Philadelphia Conference, the Association has prospered holding annual conferences in the United States, Canada, and England.  Individual membership has grown to more than ZOO members from 10 countries; institutional and professional membership categories have been included; summer internships have been sponsored; conference proceedings, research studies, and surveys have been published; a seeds and source exchange program has been very popular; and a newsletter is published regularly.

    Perhaps the most important and lasting results of the AZH is the lasting personal contacts. Networking is the phrase that best sums it up. A network of friends of like training and interests. A friend you can call for a new plant material or seed sources, for advice on which plants and under what conditions they have grown in an animal exhibit, or what techniques are used to protect trees from the claws of lions and tigers or the chewing of hoofed stock. A network is a place where you can talk out your frustrations, complain, celebrate, or just relax knowing you have others who know and understand your problems.

    Mark Fleming, past treasurer and president of AZH, said in his closing remarks at the Tucson conference, "I am tired from a busy season, worn out from the drought, weary of the problems associated .with zoo horticulture, just sort of down. Then comes the AZH conference. A time and place for learning, sharing information, and relaxing with friends. Why do I come? I come to get pumped up, to renew my enthusiasm, and to get ready for the next year."  What better testimonial can an organization have? AZH is a network, a group of friends, a source of information and encouragement, and a group dedicated to conserving endangered species and habitats.  

    After many years of practicing horticulture as a profession, I can safely say, "A nice horticulturist like you does belong in a zoo." May I end by paraphrasing a favorite poem (with proper apologies to Joyce Kilmer, of course).


    Of all the things that I might be,

    I had to be a lousy tree.

    A tree that grows out in the yard

    With little lions 'round my feet.

    I lift my leafy arms to pray,

    Go 'way little lions, go 'way.

    Nest of birds I must wear

    And what they do gets in my hair.

    I'm nothing else but this, alas,

    A comfort station in the grass.

    Of all the things that I might be

    I had to be a damned zoo tree.

  • October 02, 2019 4:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Association of Zoological Horticulture is a non-profit membership organization dedicated to the advancement of zoo horticulture in zoological parks, gardens, and aquariums. AZH works to highlight the importance of plants within zoos and aquariums, and seeks to support the horticulturists who work in a zoological setting.

    Zoo horticulture involves more than enhancing the landscape for its resident animal populations as evidenced by the thousands of dollars used to protect and conserve the natural environment within our zoos and around the world. One of the core values of the Association of Zoological Horticulture (AZH) is conservation of rare plants and plant diversity.  This commitment to plant conservation through the AZH Plant Conservation Grant program began in 1992 and has awarded over $450,000 to projects spanning the country and the globe.

    AZH plant conservation grants encourage plant conservation activities and partnerships within and between AZH members, member zoos and member zoo partners.  Grant monies are provided through the Disney Conservation Fund (DCF), AZH member donations, and auction proceeds from annual conferences. The focus for these grants should be plant conservation activities that tie to habitat conservation, biological diversity preservation, germplasm preservation, environmental education. AZH Plant Conservation Grants are awarded for both in-situ and ex-situ plant conservation work.

    2019 AZH Plant Conservation grant recipients:

    Creation of biological corridors utiliziing family plots, for the conservation of Abronia campbelli - Oklahoma City Zoo

    The Foundation for the Conservation of Endangered species of Guatemala (FUNDESQUA) now in partnership with the Oklahoma City Zoo and International Reptile Conservation Foundation (IRCF), began a long-term conservation program in 2001 called “Conservation Heloderma” and in 2009 “Conservation Abronia”. Both programs incorporate field research, public education, local community capacity building and habitat protection and restoration.

    Campbell’s alligator lizard (Abronia campbelli) which is considered the most threatened Abronia species in Guatemala and thus the world. Campbell’s alligator lizard is critically endangered due to the decline in extent and quality of habitat, as a direct result of land-use change for agriculture and livestock.  We believe that the most successful conservation programs are voluntary and locally driven, so our project focuses on the intertwining and compatibility of biodiversity protection, with the livelihoods of the local populace; resulting in long-term sustainable conservation.

    This projects main goals and objectives are to protect and extend the habitat available for A. campbelli, with the creation of biological corridors utilizing privately owned, small land-holdings (currently used for subsistence agriculture) of 100 families. These corridors will be developed by planting live fences with key forest species. To achieve this goal, we will have community-based activities within the habitat of A. campbelli and in our nursery, to not only develop the technical skills needed by the community but also to develop a new way of interacting with nature that culminates in a culture oriented towards the conservation of biodiversity.

    Unlocking the secrets to germinating our more challenging rare species of South Florida’s Pine Rocklands and sharing this information with the conservation community - Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

     The Pine Rocklands of South Florida are a critically imperiled habitat due to rapid urban expansion. Only 2% of the original habitat remain today outside of Everglades National Park, and it is heavily fragmented. To safeguard genetic diversity and for use in future restoration projects, seeds from a variety of species are regularly collected and stored at the seed lab of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden (FTBG). There, we conduct germination trials to assess seed viability, dormancy breaking methods, and the potential for long-term storage of seeds. Additionally, FTBG’s Connect to Protect Network (CTPN) aims to increase the connectivity of this fragmented habitat by distributing plants to private homeowners and public lands. With membership numbers rising, the demand of plants is growing proportionately. CTPN members and FTBG partners increasingly request information about how to best propagate Pine Rockland species.

    Goals for this project include:1.) Develop and optimize seed propagation methods for five of the following species (depending on seed availability) to increase production numbers and make them available for CTPN members and the public: Bourreria cassinifolia, Guettarda scabra, Centrosema virginianum, Ipomoea tenuissima, Melanthera parvifolia, Metastelma blodgettii, Dalea carnea, Croton linearis, and Koanophyllon villosum. 2.) Write propagation protocols for at least 20 Pine Rockland plants and a how-to guide explaining the different seed dormancy breaking methods. Both will be made publicly available, particularly for AZH and CTPN members. 3.) Compile seed storage behavior information based on data from the seed lab of FTBG and make it available for other institutions.

    Expand capacity and programming for Florida Mangrove Conservation – The Florida Aquarium

    Since 2016, we have provided around about 2000 established Red Mangrove seedlings to environmental conservation efforts and shared them with other AZH and AZA membership institutions. Our goal now is to expand our efforts and provide White and Black Mangrove seedlings.

    Mangroves are a keystone species for ocean shorelines. They are vital to our ecosystem by providing habitat at every level; from fish nurseries and shoreline erosion control with their root system, midlevel habitat to crabs, snails, and even the mangrove snake, and their canopy providing nesting for many species of shoreline birds and many significances beyond this.

    Staff will collect seed from established mangroves near our Aquarium property in areas that we provide volunteer clean-up efforts to then grow in seed trays and or / purchase started White and Black Mangrove seedlings from Sandhill Growers to grow out further to a size suitable for transplanting in to the environment. We will raise them in our Aquarium nursery and then transport them to restoration events where we will also provide the volunteer labor to plant them.

    Ex-situ conservation of four ‘new’ and unprotected plant species at Parc Ivoloina - Naples Zoo/Madagascar Flora and Fauna Group

    The purpose is to prevent the extinction of four newly discovered Malagasy plants and conserve them ex-situ as 100 growing plants in Parc Ivoloina. These species are currently known only from small, unprotected forest fragments that are likely to be destroyed in the next decade.  The four are a species of Polyscias (Araliaceae), Astrocassine (Celastraceae), Rhopalocarpus (Sphaerosepalaceae), and Vitex (Lamiaceae). Chris Birkinshaw, Missouri Botanical Garden’s technical advisor in Madagascar, will lead the work. He has a Doctorate in tropical ecology, is based full-time in Madagascar where he has worked for MBG since 1996.

    Project activities include:  Apply for permits to collect vouchered seed samples, field trips to relocate and flag individuals and to train local assistants to monitor and collect ripe seeds, local assistants track phenology of target species,  collect ripe seeds when they occur, and dispatch seed samples to Parc Ivoloina, propagation of seeds at Parc Ivoloina, label seedlings and plant out into Parc Ivoloina at locations where they can grow to maturity.  Some plants will be planted in association with the captive lemur collections and here they will be provided with an interpretive sign, nurture and monitor plants and ultimately use in forest restoration endeavors.

  • September 03, 2019 12:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    2019 BIAZA Plant Working Group Conference

    Chester Zoo

    16 – 18 October 2019

    Conference Programme (Draft – titles of presentations to be confirmed)

    Tuesday 15th October 2019



    Icebreaker at The Royal Oak, Faulkner St, Chester


    Day 1 – Wednesday 16th October 2019

    Involvement of Zoo Horticulture in Conservation Projects






    Welcome/BIAZA PWG Update

    Sven Seiffert, Chair BIAZA Plant Working Group,

    Phil Esseen, Chester Zoo



    Delivering Horticultural Workshops in Nepal

    Anna Furse, Chester Zoo



    Site Management for Butterflies at ZSL, London Zoo

    Ben Camps, ZSL






    The North West Rare Plants Initiative – A conservation programme for North-west England

    Josh Styles, NWRPI



    Conservation Risks and Opportunities in Fodder Production

    Eddie Mole, Bristol Zoological Society



    Grassland management for Conservation

    Andrew Harrison, Bristol Zoological Society




    13:30 - 17:00

    Tour of the main Chester Zoo site, including recent developments (Asiatic Lions, Madagascar, Islands)


    Conference Dinner at Chez Jules, Northgate St, Chester

    Day 2 – Thursday, 17th October 2019

    Designing and Implementing Zoo Landscaping on a Small Budget



    Redevelopment of Red panda exhibit at Marwell Zoo

    Lance Ingram, Marwell Zoo



    Title TBC

    Jonathan McLoughlin, Gillespie



    Designing and Planting the Bumblebee Garden at Chester Zoo

    Liz Young, Clive Roe, Chester Zoo






    Undertaking Project Work In-house

    Mark Hargreaves, Chester Zoo



    Use of Plants to meet animal welfare requirements

    Sven Seiffert, ZSL




    Tours of the wider Chester Zoo site



    Visit to Chester Zoo’s Nature Reserve

    Sarah Bird, Helen Bradshaw, Chester Zoo



    Visit to the Plant Project, Nursery and Plant Collections at Chester Zoo



    Visit to Woodside Farm, Chester Zoo’s Green waste recycling centre and browse plantations


    Chester city walk and drink

    Day 3 – Friday 18th October 2019

    Workshop: Practical Exhibit Theming



    Workshop 1 introduction – Working with concrete to theme animal exhibits.



    Practical session – Constructing a themed concrete termite mound






    Workshop 2 introduction – Working with recycled materials to construct informal barriers and fences



    Practical session – constructing a brushwood boma fence and barrier.




    (Please note that this session will be take place outdoors. Workshop participants should bring suitable clothing and footwear).


    To book your place on the conference, please click on the following link…



    We have secured a favourable rate for conference attendees at Chester Court Hotel, on Hoole Road, from £46.80 for a single room and £64.80 for a twin room (per night, bed and breakfast). Contact Chester Court Hotel (info@chestercourthotel.com )

    If you have any queries, please contact Phil Esseen, Curator of Botany and Horticulture at Chester Zoo (p.esseen@chesterzoo.org).

  • August 11, 2019 12:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens (JZG) supports a variety of different conservation-related initiatives. In addition to donating a portion of zoo ticket sales directly to conservation-related projects, zoo staff are encouraged to actively engage in the conservation of native species and ecosystems. In our case, this meant collaborating with the University of Florida in the hope of helping the 300-plus drastically declining wild bee species native to northern Florida.

    After some research, we were able to come up with a project that fit within our guidelines. The next step was to fill out a conservation proposal application and get the process rolling. The detailed description focused on how this conservation project benefited both institutions and what we hoped it would accomplish. Finally, funds were requested and granted. We began by focusing on the attractiveness of different plant species to native bees in Florida, including plants being sold in big box stores as “pollinator friendly."

    Our research focuses on the bee species found within JZG property. We wanted to record the frequency with which native pollinators visited groups of native and non-native flowers. We then opened the door for staff involvement, no matter what department they worked in, at a level where they could jump right in. This was crucial to the project’s overall success. Participants were excited and eager to help with local conservation. We set up a training meeting and showed them how to monitor species, what to look for, and how to use a Quadrat to record findings within a three-foot-by-three-foot area. Our results will be documented in University of Florida extension publications on the attractiveness of different plant species to native bees in Florida.

    Our results on bee species found within JZG property will be distributed to our staff, and possibly incorporated into signage. This project will provide data specific to JZG that can be used to educate visitors about bee diversity and the plants found on grounds that support these pollinators. The University of Florida will work with the JZG staff to create educational materials that will help visitors learn about the importance of bees and ways that they can support, conserve, or enhance bee populations. Furthermore, this project will provide planting recommendations for the gardens, including any current or future pollinator gardens.

  • August 06, 2019 8:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The call for funding applications for the 2019 BGCI/ArbNet Partnership Program is open! This is a funding opportunity to support the development of international collaborations between gardens and arboreta for the purpose of exchanging skills, resources and expertise to advance tree conservation efforts. Botanical gardens and arboreta play a vital role in studying, collecting and protecting threatened tree diversity around the world. The Partnership Program provides funding (up to $2,500) for collaborative tree conservation projects, with priority given to projects that target biodiversity hotspots and/or capacity building in developing countries. Grant applications must satisfy the following conditions:


    • Focus on tree conservation
    • Involve an international partnership between two botanical institutions
    • Both partners are BGCI members
    • At least one of the two partners is an ArbNet accredited arboretum (accreditation applications will be accepted up to the funding deadline to be considered for this opportunity)


    Partners may apply for BGCI membership and ArbNet accreditation concurrently with submitting a funding proposal. Proposals must be submitted through the BGCI Global Botanic Garden Fund application. Proposals will be reviewed by the ArbNet and BGCI staff. 


    Deadline for funding proposals (and accreditation applications, if applicable) is September 13, 2019

    This is the 3rd Phase of the BGCI/ArbNet Partnership Programme. Learn more about past funded projects here

    Please email, Amy Byrne, Global Trees Conservation Assistant, with any questions. abyrne@mortonarb.org  

  • July 16, 2019 1:13 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) has granted accreditation to San Diego Zoo Global for its gardens at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the plant conservation work they support at the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research. The certification recognizes San Diego Zoo Global’s important conservation contribution to the efforts to preserve plant species.

    “We are tremendously honored to be included among the other notable gardens around the world that are preserving endangered plant species for the future,” said Bob Wiese Ph.D., chief life sciences officer, San Diego Zoo Global. “Although our work with endangered animal species often receives more public attention, the incredible dedication of our team of horticulturists is making a difference in our battle to end extinction.”

             BGCI’s certification recognizes not only the beauty and diversity of the curated plant collections of the Zoo and Safari Park but also the tremendous effort that goes into conserving plant species. San Diego Zoo Global’s ongoing plant research programs work to preserve and understand the natural history and genetic diversity of rare plants. San Diego Zoo Global’s restoration of local habitats in San Diego County and seed banking of endangered native California species are a testament to its commitment to conserve critically endangered plant populations, like the torrey pine and San Diego thornmint.

    “Botanic gardens across the world are documenting, understanding, growing and conserving plant diversity,” said Brian Lainoff, Head of Membership Strategy and Services for BGCI. “They are not, however, sufficiently recognised by policymakers and funders. BGCI’s Accreditation Scheme assesses, places a high value, and sets international standards on the unique skills, knowledge and conservation action in botanic gardens.”

    With nearly two million plants cared for at the San Diego Zoo and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park combined, San Diego Zoo Global joins other world-class botanical gardens that are accredited by both BGCI and the American Association of Museums (AAM). San Diego Zoo Global’s beautiful and unique gardens display collections of aloes, coral trees, bamboo, acacias, ficus, conifers, palms, cycads, orchids and California native plant species. The botanical collection not only augments the habitats of the animals but also provides an important nutritional resource for them. Additionally, the Zoo and Safari Park also act as “rescue centers” for rare and endangered plant species that have been confiscated from wildlife trafficking, receiving specimens from a variety of sources.

    “When people walk into the San Diego Zoo or the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, they are immediately struck by the beauty of our gardens and natural spaces,” said Stephanie Shigematsu, curator of horticulture for the San Diego Zoo. “Although most people come to our parks to see animals, the plants add a richness and depth to their experience. There are plant species all over the world that are critically endangered and facing extinction—we participate in plant species survival plans, research, and educational outreach that help preserve that botanical wealth for future generations.”

    San Diego Zoo plant collections are highlighted each month on Plant Day, which takes place on the third Friday of each month. On these days, the Zoo offers a number of free plant presentations with horticulture experts. 

    The San Diego Zoo is globally recognized and a San Diego icon, hosting more than 4 million guests each year. At the San Diego Zoo, visitors can watch penguins and sharks swim, observe the behavior of century-old Galápagos tortoises, enjoy the beauty of exotic orchids, marvel at koalas, explore walk-through aviaries filled with the songs and colors of rare birds, and appreciate the power of leopards and jaguars. The San Diego Zoo is also accredited by the American Association of Museums and the Botanic Gardens Conservation International as a Botanical Garden. As visitors discover the rare and endangered species at the San Diego Zoo, they are directly contributing, through admission and on-grounds sales, to the efforts of San Diego Zoo Global, an international nonprofit conservation organization that works to fight extinction through recovery efforts for plants and animals worldwide. To learn more, visitsandiegozoo.org, or connect with us on FacebookTwitterInstagram or YouTube.



  • July 03, 2019 9:23 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The American Horticultural Society’s National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (www.ahsgardening.org/gardening-programs/youth-gardening/ncygs/2019-ncygs/overview) is a three-day long conference for educators, nonprofit professionals, designers, horticulturalists, and others working directly with children and youth in garden-based settings that will take place on the campus of the University of Wisconsin, Madison in Madison, Wisconsin from July 10 through 13 this year. Partners for the event include Community Groundworks, the Wisconsin School Garden Network, and the UW Madison Environmental Design Laboratory.


    This year’s symposium will explore “green” career resources and innovative sustainable gardening curriculum and practices, and highlight model partnerships for attracting the human, financial, and intellectual capital needed to sustain youth gardening endeavors.

                Attendees at the Symposium will have the opportunity to:

                • participate in almost 50 peer-led educational sessions, including six Seed Your Future-dedicated sessions.

                • hear thought-provoking speakers including Detroit Dirt’s Pashon Murray and Soul Fire Farm’s Amani Olugbala present on current topics including closed-loop waste management and food justice.

                • tour outstanding local sites such as the Madison Children's Museum, Allen Centennial Garden, and the Troy Kids' Garden.

                • meet and connect with colleagues and peers working in the youth gardening sector.

     Registration is available in person at the Pyle Center of the University of Wisconsin, Madison on July 11, 12, and 13: www.ahsgardening.org/gardening-programs/youth-gardening/ncygs/2019-registration-rates. View a detailed schedule: www.ahsgardening.org/gardening-programs/youth-gardening/ncygs/2019-schedule

  • June 16, 2019 11:56 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Quercus ajoensis (Ajo oak) and Q. toumeyi (Toumey oak) are native to the southwestern U.S. and both are included on the IUCN Red List; Q. ajoensis is vulnerable, while data about Q. toumeyi are insufficient. For this project, which took place in April 2018, both were assessed for extinction risk. The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens (HTN) in San Marino, California, obtained a grant from American Public Gardens Association (APGA) to study these two species in collaboration with the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum (ASDM) in Tucson, Arizona. The objectives were to scout localities where these species had been observed in the past, confirm or deny their presence in several mountain ranges which are poorly documented, collect acorns or material for micropropagation, and voucher the species at each location. GPS locations of all plants and populations encountered were recorded, measurements and field descriptions of trees were taken, and habitat and associated species were noted. Vouchers were deposited in herbaria at HNT, ASDM, and the U.S. National Arboretum (NA), with Morton Arboretum (MOR) slated to receive a set. Permitting involved the Coronado National Forest (CNF), Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Park Service (NPS), and US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).

    Quercus ajoensis, a form with smaller leaves, Alamo Canyon © Julie H. Wiens

                Acorns from both species were collected and sent for propagation to HNT, ASDM, Boyce Thompson Arboretum (Superior, Arizona), and Starhill Forest Arboretum in Petersburg, Illinois. The Q. ajoensis acorns, however, began germinating in the collection bags. These were sent to ASDM and sown; seedlings have been distributed to the other three institutions.

                It appears that the U.S. range of pure Q. ajoensis is contracting to just three canyons in the Ajo Mountains in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Oaks from other known locations were either not found or proved to be hybrids with Q. turbinella. Fortunately, the remaining U.S. populations are relatively well protected on public lands. However, recent wildfires and other disasters highlight the vulnerability of being constrained to a small geographic area and underscore the value of collecting and distributing material for ex situ conservation. Unfortunately, oaks are masting species. With improved understanding of the phenology of the species and collaborations with land managers developed through this grant, our capacity to capture acorns during the next masting event is greatly improved. There is a need for similar projects on the Mexican side of the border. An online search of herbarium records lists five localities on the Baja Peninsula, with only two collections this century.

                Our study found Q. toumeyi in ten different mountain ranges throughout Arizona and New Mexico. Populations occur mostly at elevations of 1,500–1,800 m, with lower and upper extremes of 1,207 m and 2,149 m, respectively. In addition, populations of the species exist on protected land in nine of those ranges and these accessions were acquired from each of those ranges. Frequently, it is locally common where it occurs. Although mostly found on volcanics, it seems to not be specific to a single type of substrate. Despite some seed predation, one or two species of gall wasps, and a parasitic plant found attacking Q. toumeyi, no significant threat was found to any current population on public land. Of concern for both species are studies (Brusca et al. 2013, Nolan et al. 2018) showing that many plant ranges have already been observed to be shifting in response to climate change.

                Of the several species mistakenly identified as Q. toumeyi, the most interesting is Q. grisea. In the Red List of U.S. Oaks, the two come out as sister taxa. Their ranges approach each other in southern New Mexico and may overlap in the Animas, Burro, or Cookes ranges.

    Matt Jevnikar and Tim Thibault with Quercus toumeyi at Upper Walker Tank in the Santa Rita Mountains © John F. Wiens

    The recent publication of Q. barrancana (Spellenberg 2014) casts doubt about the extent of the range into Mexico, and surveying for Q. toumeyi in Mexico would be valuable. As for the U.S. side, monitoring of populations to ensure that they are stable would be beneficial.

                Q. toumeyi seems very well adapted to the bimodal rainfall of its native range. Plants in the Rincon Mountains were observed with flowers, early fruit, and mature fruit, both in January and July of 2018. It would be interesting to see if this is a weather anomaly for this particular year, or if the species in fact flowers and fruits twice yearly. Q. toumeyi deserves further horticultural evaluation. It may prove a valuable foundation plant or informal hedge for dry climates.

    Authors’ Contact Information:

    John F. Wiens (Organizer and Senior Collector), Nursery Horticulturist, Botany Department, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ, 85743, jwiens@desertmuseum.org

    Tim Thibault (Organizer and Senior Collector), Curator, Woody Plant Materials, Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, 91108, tthibault@huntington.org

    The original version of this report appeared in the February 8, 2019  edition of the journal Dendrology.

    Edited by Sandy Masuo, AZH editor

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