Prairie Plant Species Research

University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum (MLA)

(Provided by David Remucal)

The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum safeguards nine species in the CPC National Collection. Three of these species, Cypripedium candidum, Platanthera praeclara, and Besseya bullii, are prairie species. The University of Minnesota Landscape Arboretum has had great success growing the Cypripedium, an orchid, and will be starting a population at the Arboretum as an experiment to try and introduce this wet meadow orchid to a reconstructed landscape. They are also in the process of producing hundreds of seedlings of this species for use in a restoration project in eastern Wisconsin.

For the Platanthera, another orchid, the biggest challenges are figuring out how to best bank the seed, how to propagate large amounts of the plant, and how to establish seedlings in natural or reconstructed landscapes. The Arboretum is working on these challenges.

For the Besseya, they are nearing completion of acceptable genetic/geographic coverage of the species for Minnesota. Currently, they are beginning to turn their attention to getting seed from other states in its range. They appear to have overcome an apparent hump in germination testing for this species and have started to offer seedlings to donor locations for population augmentation (no takers yet, but folks are at least talking about the possibilities which is, in actuality, what they really want at this point). They will be establishing their own population of Besseya at the arboretum this fall, once everything has gone dormant, as well as creating safeguard beds for several of the donor populations.

For all of these species, as they are established in their prairie (or prairie display beds), the next steps are to develop interpretations for visitors to emphasize the arboretum’s work on preserving some of the prairie gems in the state as first real opportunities to present the public with results of some of its conservation work.

PHOTO: left: Year old seedlings – Cypripedium candidum; top right: Seedlings-Cypripedium candidum; bottom-right: Digging up Arnoglossum plantagineum – translocation project.

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By | 2018-06-25T16:28:52+00:00 June 14th, 2018|Featured Article|0 Comments

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