En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Wednesday - May 17, 2006

From: North of San Francisco, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Inadvisability of allowing native orchids to cross-breed
Answered by: Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Hello LBJ Native plants helper! This is the perfect place for me to ask a question that has been very perplexing to me. I live in Northern California and am doing research for naturalization of the terrestrial orchid Calypso bulbosa var:occidentalis in my area and around the world. The other variety that grows in the US is var:americana. I expect, in the future, I will have quantities of var:occidentalis seed available for naturalizing in Calypso habitat. My question is this-what, if any, are the things that need to be considered-environmentally and ethically before I make this seed available? The two varieties have documented crosses in British Columbia where the two habitats converge. That is, the Rocky mountain variety C. americana and the Pacific Northwest and circumboreal var:occidentalis territorys converge. Var:occidentalis is tougher and more aggressive than C. americana but they do cross in nature. As a native plant expert I am certain you favor naturalization and dispersal of this orchid, but, what are the limits of good sense on this one?

ANSWER:

I do not think we would endorse distributing var. occidentalis beyond its natural range if there is the potential of increasing its contact with with var. americana. If they are capable of crossing when they are proximity to one another, enhancing gene flow between these two varieties by dispersing var. occidentalis in areas where var. americana occurs would homogenize the genetic differences that make each variety unique.

 

More Non-Natives Questions

Problems with non-native petunias from Hodgeville, KY
May 12, 2013 - Planting petunias again in a house border bed.. It has been a tradition for 30+ years to plant the small upright petunias in this particular bed. It started as a Mothers Day gift to my Grandmother, ...
view the full question and answer

Problems with non-native crape myrtle from Raleigh NC
March 23, 2011 - I have two crepe myrtles that were planted last year, did well all summer long. We had some freezing weather and this spring their buds are brown with little white flakes(very sparingly) and no leaves...
view the full question and answer

Roses for Austin soil
May 01, 2014 - What roses would work in the soil near Lake Austin Spa?
view the full question and answer

Pruning Cuphea Plants
February 04, 2013 - The David Verity cuphea (cigar plants) that I planted last spring are now 3-4 feet high. I would like to move them, but before I do they seem to need pruning. All the branches are brown and dry lookin...
view the full question and answer

Plant Care for Plumeria
October 15, 2005 - I have a plumeria that is getting too tall for my small patio. How I should cut it back and can start the cuttings into new plants? Does the original plant need any special care when it is cut back?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center