As Seen on CPC’s Rare Plant Academy: Using Ex Situ Collections to Test Mating Systems – Brighamia insignis
Many plant species have flowers that are adapted to perfectly suit a specific pollinator group or species. This is the case for the rare Hawai’i endemic, Brighamia insignis, or Alula, which is thought to have adapted to moth pollination. However, observations of Brighamia insignis in the wild showed no pollinators effectively pollinating this incredibly rare plant. It is hypothesized that the moths that once pollinated Alula may now be very rare themselves, or perhaps extinct. What can we do when a plant’s pollinator disappears? In this video created for the Rare Plant Academy with a storyboard by Seana Walsh of National Tropical Botanic Garden, we learn about what researchers can do to explore mating systems for plants ex situ. Researchers at National Tropical Botanical Garden conducted breeding system experiments to evaluate the self compatibility of this species in a greenhouse setting. This approach can be utilized by researchers at botanic gardens to uncover management strategies for rare species. Watch the video and check out the Rare Plant Academy Video Library to watch many more videos and presentations focused on rare plant conservation!