Many populations of Pycnanthemum torreyi throughout its wide range are no longer know to be extant. In an effort to seed bank this declining species, the North Carolina Botanical Garden began surveys in the NC Piedmont for this species. We visited multiple sites in the summer of 2019. Two sites in utility rights of way did not have any plants present. One appears to have been continually mown for years and the other was cleared of overgrown woody vegetation in the summer of 2019. This site may still have individuals, but the current management is not beneficial to this species. A third site was small and flowered poorly due to dense shade. A forth site stretches along a utility right of way and access road through a forest managed for research and timber production. Here we found approximately 100 clumps of flowering individuals.
Nick Adams and Mike Kunz (NCBG) returned to the site in the fall of 2019 on two separate dates, successfully collecting seeds for ex situ conservation. In total, we collected approximately 15,000 seeds that will be split between NCBG’s seed bank and the National Laboratory for Genetic Resource Preservation. We will continue to monitor the other NC populations for plants and the possibility for additional seed collections in future years.
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