Texas

Kim Taylor, Botanical Research Institute of Texas / Fort Worth Botanic Garden

The Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) is in the process of constructing a seed conservation laboratory and seed bank. While BRIT has been active in conservation for decades and has partnered with regional seed banks to conserve rare species, BRIT has never had a dedicated seed laboratory on site. The goal of the BRIT Seed Conservation Laboratory will be to collect and maintain ex situ collections for all rare plant taxa occurring in Texas. In order to equip the laboratory with the appropriate equipment and begin a strategic plan to collect all rare Texas taxa, we first need to understand the seed storage behavior of the taxa of concern. An assessment of the seed storage behavior of 449 vascular plant taxa listed by Texas Parks and Wildlife as Species of Greatest Conservation Need will be discussed, including how the results impacted design of the BRIT seed bank.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Thursday, May 3, 2018

Anita Tiller and Suzzanne Chapman, Mercer Botanic Gardens

Mercer Botanic Gardens, a Harris County(HC) Precinct 4(P4) Parks facility is susceptible to periodic floods. Rainfall in the drainage basin of Cypress Creek, adjacent to Mercer, ranged from 35-50” during the course of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017. As a participating institution for the CPC, Mercer maintains a seed bank, conservation nursery, display garden and a prairie preserve. The Mercer Botanical Center (MBC), Mercer’s research facility received 8-9” of flood water. The seed bank within the MBC received no damage since collections remained above flood water and no power was lost due to the building’s standby generator. Mercer’s CPC nursery received over 10’ of flood water. Even though plant stock remained under water for about 5 days, the collections suffered minimal damage. Mercer’s endangered species display garden received about 8’ of flood water for about 5 days. Some display plants were lost and others are recovering. Mercer's conservation staff have much experience with preventative disaster maintenance strategies, thus conservation collections suffered minimal loss due to our maintenance protocols and diligent post flood cleanup. Fall 2017 surveys and seed collections were completed at the HC P4 Prairie Dawn Preserve. April 2018 surveys at the preserve of Hymenoxys texana found about 1,000 more plants than the 60 surveyed in 2016, though more than 10,000 less prior to the April and Tax Day floods of 2016. Immediate support received from HC P4 personnel, Mercer volunteers and from partners and donors, including the CPC, greatly assisted Mercer’s recovery.

Contributing Author(s): 
Date Recorded: 
Friday, May 4, 2018