Trials and tribulations in restoring Showy Stickseed (Hackelia venusta)

Wendy Gibble, University Of Washington Botanic Gardens

Hackelia venusta (showy stickseed) is a narrow endemic plant known only from one population in central Washington. It was listed as an endangered species in 2002 when the population was estimated at 600 plants spread over 40 acres. The most recent survey in 2012 documented 477 plants. Building on previous work, Rare Care initiated a propagation program to augment the existing population and attempt to establish new populations. Experiments on seed germination improved germination rates from approximately 5 to 10% to approximately 80% by embryo excision. In fall 2015, 265 plants were outplanted to sites at the existing population and to a new site approximately 3 miles away. Survivorship was 83% by May 2016, but declined to 25% by May 2018. In this talk, we will present some insights on propagating and reintroducing this challenging species and a summary of three years of monitoring the outplantings.