Collaborative Conservation Preserving Titusville Balm

Erica SmithBlog Tower Garden, HorticultureLeave a Comment

In July, Biologists Ella Segal and Haley Dole of Archbold Biological Station came to the greenhouse at Bok Tower Gardens to load up hundreds of Titusville Balm (Dicerandra thinicola) plants.

The plants had been propagated by the Rare Plant Conservation Program (RPCP) in support of a reintroduction project led by Archbold Biological Station and Floravista. In February, 470 cuttings from 59 parent plants in a natural population in Brevard County were delivered by Archbold Biological Station staff to the RPCP, along with several buckets of native soil in which to root the cuttings and propagate new plants.

Each cutting was trimmed to size, the cut ends treated with a liquid auxin mix to promote rooting, then placed into a moist soil mix in greenhouse trays. The trays were covered with protective plastic domes to prevent the stress of water loss from transpiration. The cuttings rooted well. They were transplanted into quart-sized pots in March, and grown on a sun table in the greenhouse through July.

Once in the hands of Archbold and Floravista staff, the plants were transplanted onto protected land in Brevard County, where they will help establish a robust population to preserve this endangered Florida endemic species.

This article was written by a member of the Rare Plant Conservation Program at Bok Tower Gardens. Photos provided by inaturalist.nz, Archbold Biological Station and Vince Lamb.

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