Clone preservation project gets underway - Lavinia Acton's Property
by
Alan Herndon

A few baby steps were taken towards starting the clone preservation project outlined in the October Advisory
when Nat DeLeon and I visited the collection of Lavinia
Acton recently. Lavinia graciously led us through
the plants brought together by her
late husband George and provided us with the notes made by George
detailing the
purchase of each plant.

Our intention was to find out what kind of effort will be required to carry out the project. Major questions to be
answered included: How difficult will it be to identify unlabelled plants (particularly non-blooming plants)
in different collections? How long will it take to survey a collection in detail? Answers to these questions
will take more surveys.

We would like to advance the project significantly in spring 2009. More surveys of collections are planned.
Lists of plants of especial interest will be generated. We will
also encourage other societies to start similar
projects since the overall project is far too large for a single society.

In the meantime, all members of the BSSF can help with this project, even if not expert on the intricacies
of Bromeliad taxonomy. If you have a listing of plants in your collection (the names you purchased the
plants under are fine), and could provide us with a copy, we could make a quick assessment of the
relative abundance of different clones in collections throughout southern Florida. If you have a plant you
donít know the name of, but is not one you see frequently in other collections, you should bring it to the
monthly meeting for the Show and Tell Table. It doesnít matter whether the plant is show quality; we will
try to identify the plant. It will not be
possible to identify all plants at once, but we will continue to work
on all
undetermined plants. As a practical matter, blooming plants are much easier to identify than
non-blooming plants, but non-blooming plants with distinctive leaf
patterns, such as many Neoregelia
hybrids can also be identified easily. So feel free to bring in plants with distinctive features. If there are
several possible plants that share
those features, you may have to wait until your plant blooms for
identification. With
plants lacking distinctive features, it is much better to wait for flowering. You do not
need to have a plant in full flower on the day of the meeting. It may be possible to identify the plants
with unopened buds, or we may be able to tell you what to look for when the flowers open to pin down
the identity. Similarly, it is often possible to identify plants that are recently past flower. In cases where
you have to bring in a post-flowering plant it would be very helpful to make notes on or take a picture
of the flower. We look forward to seeing the plants come in starting with the January meeting.

 

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