Threats include foraging by domestic fowl, cattle and removal of the forest canopy which destroys the humus substrate necessary for P. wheeleri (USFWS 1990).
P. wheeleri is restricted to the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico. Here, it can be found on the northern slopes at the island's highest elevation (200 meters), Monte Resaca (USFWS 1990). Several hundred plants are known from this site, and a majority of these plants are within the boundaries of the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge (USFWS 1990).
Ongoing conservation measures include monitoring the population and propagation efforts by the Puerto Rican Department of Sports and Recreation in cooperation with the Caribbean Field Office and Culebra National Wildlife Refuge and also by Fairchild Tropical Garden (USFWS 1990).
As outlined by P. wheeleri's Recovery Plan (USFWS 1990), management needs include protecting remaining plants and habitat by creating mammal exclusions to reduce or eliminate foraging and trampling by fowl and cattle. Plant protection can also be aided by monitoring populations on a long-term basis, enforcing endangered species regulations and searching for new populations. Research needs include defining habitat requirements at all life stages, determining reproductive biology and ecology (USFWS 1990). These topics include pollination and seed dispersal ecology as well as propagation, germination and seedling recruitment (USFWS 1990).
At Fairchild Tropical Garden in Miami, Florida, P. wheeleri produced seed in 1989. Seeds began germination after 34 days, but at a rate of less than 10% (USFWS 1990). Propagation is more successful with cuttings that root easily (USFWS 1990).
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