Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP)


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2014 Hawaiian Botanical Forum Field Trip Flyer

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Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP)

  1. 1. Hawaiian Rare Plant Program What is the Hawaiian Rare Plant Program? The Lyon Arboretum Hawaiian Rare Plant Program (HRPP) utilizes micropropagation, seed banking and greenhouse propagation as horticultural tools for plant germplasm conservation. The objectives for this project are to (a) prevent further extinction of native Hawaiian plant species and Polynesian introduced crop plants, (b) propagate plants for approved restoration projects and garden use, and (c) initiate and maintain an in vitro germplasm collection of these “critically endangered” Hawaiian plants. HRPP’s primary focus is to preserve the plants that are most at risk of becoming extinct, such as the native plant species that have 20 or fewer rep- resentatives left in the wild. Lyon Arboretum works cooperatively, in joint conservation efforts with other Hawaiian botanical gar- dens, various state and federal agencies officially concerned with plant conservation and endangered species, private conservation agencies, environmental organizations, and major private landowners. Harold L. Lyon Arboretum-University of Hawai‘i at Mänoa, 3860 Mänoa Road, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96822, Phone (808)-988-0470 The Micropropagation Laboratory To date, the Lyon Arboretum Micropropagation La- boratory has successfully grown over 300 Hawaiian plant taxa using micropropagation techniques. Cur- rently, we house more than 17,526 plants, consisting of 228 native plant taxa (of which 141 are federally listed as endangered/threatened). This includes over 70 varieties of taro, and 15+ varieties of banana. Last year alone, over 1,300 plants were produced via micropropagation for various conservation projects, en- tailing restoration & reintroduction, research and education, as well as botanical and display gardens and forestry projects. The Seed Conservation Laboratory In the Seed Lab, over 8 million seeds are banked, representing more than 400 taxa of native Hawaiian plants. Of these, about half are federally listed as threatened or endangered. Prior to the establishment of the Seed Conservation Lab in 1995, little was known about how well seeds of native Hawaiian plant species might be stored. However, with our current knowledge, we now know that only about 6% of Hawaiian taxa have recalcitrant seeds. We continue to conduct research on our existing collections, testing viability under different conditions at various intervals over the years, with data for some species that have been stored for 15 years or more. We have added several species of ferns to our collection and are beginning to study spore storage potential. We also continually seek to make collections of seeds for research on species that we do not understand as well yet. The Greenhouse The greenhouse receives seeds and various types of vegetative cuttings from the wild, which are propagated on the mist bench or on regular benches. The greenhouse is critically important for tran- sitioning sterile micropropagation and seed growth chamber germinated plant cultures from the lab environment to the greenhouse. These plants and seedlings are “acclimatized” (acclimated to the outside greenhouse growing conditions), hardened, and eventually returned to their natural environ- ment via outplanting restoration efforts.