Increasing Seed for Restoration of Rare Annuals

Michael Kunz, North Carolina Botanical Garden

Populations of rare plants can fail to produce enough, or any, seed to support reintroduction efforts. This is particularly true for rapidly declining or recently extirpated species or populations. One solution to this problem is to increase the number of seeds through ex situ propagation and seed collection. Amaranthus pumilus is a federally endangered annual plant that has experienced a 98.5% decline in the number of individuals over the last decade, and many known locations no longer support this species. Another federally endangered annual plant, Aeschynomene virginica, is also declining and was recently extirpated from the southern extent of its range. Following the Center for Plant Conservation Best Practices, I describe how we maintain genetic integrity and maximize seed numbers in increasing seed for reintroduction efforts for these two annual species.