1991, Madeleine Groves, Study Tour, Carnivorous Plants In South West USA

Sarracenias as American cut flowers

By Madeleine Groves

With generous funding from the Tom Arnold Bursary and the Bentham-Moxon Trust, I was able to return to the Atlanta Botanical Garden on a six month internship to continue my research into the conservation of endemic carnivorous plant species. Having first visited and worked at A.B.G. whilst on a travel scholarship in May 1990, my interests this time lay with the use of the pitchers of Sarracenia leucophylla in the American and international cut flower industry.

The full effects of this practice on the regeneration of the Sarracenia populations is as yet to be determined. However, together with land conversion from forestry practices, housing and draining, and the suppression of the natural fires that are necessary to these habitats, it is obvious that population numbers, plus the genetic diversity of these wetlands, is decreasing.

During my six month internship I shall be working with various State and private natural resource organisations (e.g. United States Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy) and hope to set up a number of experimental plots to measure the long-term effects of harvesting on various Sarracenia populations in Alabama and Mississippi. All data collected will be passed on to the appropriate organisations to assist them with their policies for issuing export permits for the harvesters, or the need for a recovery plan for this species.

The use of carnivorous plants in the international plant trade is continuing to cause concern, and is reflected in the establishment of the I.U.C.N./S.S.C. Carnivorous Plant Specialist Group and the placing of Sarracenia species on either A.P.P. I or II of C.I.T.E.S.

I would also like to thank The Stanley Smith Horticultural Trust, The Fauna and Flora Society and the staff members of R.B.G. Kew who have assisted me in my funding and preparation for this study trip which is from November 1991 to May 1992.

 

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