Sunday, May 10, 2015

Hawaiian Rare Plant Program

I with a few other friends got to tour the Lyon Arboretum Hawaiian Rare Plant Program.  A friend of a friend reached out to me and ask if I'd like to come tour the facility.  Of course I jumped on it and here is what we saw. 

The program's facilities have three different sections.  The micropropagation lab, seed lab, and the greenhouse. 

In the microprop lab Libby was doing some maintenance on the tissue culture.  Here she is separating some of the dead or rotten parts of the plant away from the good parts of the plant.  Then when she is done she puts it back into the vials and seals them up. 

She works diligently and in a clean environment, the box seen above this picture is called a hood, it filters air through a fan and she uses the flame to sterilize her tools.  Everything is pretty much sterile under this box while working with the tissue. 

Here is the tissue culture library!  This place holds roughly 250 plants of the 1400+ Hawaiian plant taxa. 

Here is Katie looking at some of the most rare and endangered plants in test tubes. 

Hopefully all these guys get to be out planted into the forest one day.  It all depends on the front line people such as myself and other conservation organizations to help build fences and keep ungulates out from terrorizing these beautiful plants. 

Tim picks out a vial for me to photograph. 

Anyone recognize this plant?  This is a Cyanea grimesiana ssp. grimesiana.  It is extinct in the wild! 

Looking through all the specimens in test tubes I had requested to see a plant I had never seen before, a new species of Cyanea. 

Has anyone seen such a hairy little plant? 

That little guy is the recently discovered Cyanea konahuanuiensis.  Read about it here.

Another part of the facility is the seed lab. 

Literature is important too!

The seeds are all different shapes sizes and some are difficult to get to. 

Tim looks under a microscope at the seeds. 

Behind me is their seed bank storage, something like 10 million seeds!  Roughly representing 40% of Hawaii plant taxa.  Half of these seeds are listed as federally endangered or threatened!

Tim shows me how tiny the seedlings are. 

Inside the germination chamber. 

Last leg of the tour is in the greenhouse.  Tim points out this large Cyanea truncata.  More can be read here.

The mist bench.  Plants seem happy!

Some of the rarest of the rare!  This plant pictured here was found after hurricane Iniki hit Kauai. 

Tim shows us this cute Cyanea. 

Hopefully all these guys get to be out planted in their habitat.

Have questions?  Feel free to ask!

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