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BrayaResearch on Rare Plants at
Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden

Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden (MUNBG,) in conjunction with the Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery Team, plays a crucial role in the maintaining of ex situ populations of rare Newfoundland plants. Our rare plants are confined primarily to the limestone barrens region of the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. This small region only comprises 1.7% of Newfoundland’s surface area yet is home to 35 provincially rare plant species, three of which are endemic. Until 2011 MUNBG was focused on the recovery efforts of:

Long's Braya Fernald's Braya

Long’s Braya (Braya longii,
endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)

Fernald’s Braya (Braya fernaldii,
endemic, COSEWIC status threatened)

 

Low Northern Rockcress

 

Barren’s willow


Low Northern Rockcress (Braya humilis,
near endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)

Barren's willow (Salix jejuna,
endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)


We maintain living plants of these four species as well as seed banking of the Braya species. Salix seed have a short viability so seed banking is not an option for this genus.

At the request of the Endangered Species and Biodiversity/ Wildlife Division Department of Environment and Conservation, MUNBG has been asked to expand our ex situ population of provincially rare and endangered species to include:

  • White rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes racemosa, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Mackenzie’s sweet vetch (Hedysarum boreale subsp. mackenzii, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Northern bog aster (Symphytrichum boreale, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Crowded wormseed mustard (Erysimum inconspicuum var. coarctatum, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Fernald’s milkvetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. fernaldii, near endemic, COSEWIC status vulnerable)
  • Mountain fern (Thelypteris quelpaertensis, COSEWIC status vulnerable)

To this end, we now have northern bog aster and crowded wormseed mustard established in our ex situ populations. Seeds of white rattlesnake-root are now secured and germination forthcoming.

Cutleaf fleabane (Erigeron compositus), false solomon’s-seal (Maianthemum racemosa), Lindley’s aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum), Tradescant’s aster (S. tradescantii), sharpleaf aster (Oclenema acuminata), Bodin’s milkvetch (Astragalus bodinii), narrowleaf arnica (Arnica angustifolia subsp. angustifolia), woolly arnica (A. angustifolia subsp. tomentosa), Griscom’s arnica (A. griscomii) and shaved sedge (Carex tonsa) are currently under review by COSEWIC, with plans to add these species to our ex situ populations in the near future.  To this end, we have already established ex situ populations of the three Arnica species.

Willow

 

For more information on the research at MUN Botanical Garden please contact:

Todd Boland, Research Horticulturist
Madonna Bishop, Research Liasion

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