CREW scientists in the Plant Research Division have been working to propagate and preserve endangered plants from across the United States.
Learn more about CREW's plant research
African Violet Project - Learn what the Zoo is doing to help support conservation of the African Violet in the wild.
Autumn Buttercup (Ranunculus aestivalis)
Methods for propagating Autumn Buttercup (Ranunculus aestivalis), known from only one area in Utah, have been developed, using tissue cultures started from seedlings. Plants produced in this project have been used to augment a declining population of this species in Utah.
Cumberland Sandwort (Arenaria cumberlandensis)
Cumberland Sandwort plants (Arenaria cumberlandensis) have been propagated using tissue culture, and these methods have been used to produce plants that have been outplanted in the Daniel Boone National Forest. This experimental population has demonstrated that Cumberland Sandwort plants produced through tissue culture can be used to produce a viable population in the wild. Tissues have also been banked in CREW’s Frozen Garden.
Northern Wild Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense)
Shoot tips collected from wild plants in Akron, OH, were used to initiate plant tissue culture lines of Northern Wild Monkshood (Aconitum noveboracense). This population has been particularly vulnerable to salt run-off from a nearby road and an invasive species. Tissue culture-propagated plants were produced in the Plant Research Division of CREW and were given to collaborators at Gorge Metro Parks to augment their population at risk.
Four-Petal Pawpaw (Asimina tetramera)
The Four-petal Pawpaw (Asimina tetramera) is found only in southeastern Florida, in Martin and Palm Beach Counties. It is threatened by loss of habitat to the growing population of the region. Its conservation is further complicated by the fact that the seeds cannot be stored using traditional seed banking procedures. CREW researchers in the Plant Research Division have developed methods for propagating this species through tissue culture and for cryopreserving shoot tips from the cultures in liquid nitrogen. They have used the method of in vitro collecting to initiate cultures from a wide variety of genotypes and these are being banked for long-term germplasm storage. Plants are also being prepared for outplanting.
Avon Park Harebells (Crotalaria avonensis)
Avon Park Harebells (Crotalaria avonensis) is known from only three populations in the scrub habitat of central Florida. In collaboration with researchers at Archbold Biological Station, multiple shoot tips were collected from over 200 plants to initiate tissue culture lines of this species at CREW. Procedures for propagating this species in vitro have been developed by researchers in CREW’s Plant Division, and plants have been acclimated to soil and sent to ABS, as well as to collaborators at Historic Bok Sanctuary. One plant has been planted into a wild site at ABS and the project will eventually return several hundred plants back into the wild.
Florida Rare Species
Roughly one-quarter of all the species targeted in the Endangered Plant Propagation Program are from Florida. Collaborators at Historic Bok Sanctuary, Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden, and the Marie Selby Botanical Garden work with CREW to identify species for which propagation at CREW could make a difference in the long-range conservation of the species. Targeted species focus on endangered species from scrub and pine rockland/hardwood hammock habitats and include a variety of woody species, perennials, orchids, and ferns.