Friday, May 21, 2010

Seeds of Success

There are several projects that I've worked on for the BLM. The one I'm on now is called Seeds of Success. A part of the international seed banking program, SOS has a two-fold goal. The first is long term storage of seeds at the Millennium Seedbank in Kew England. The other is propagation for domestic use through the Bend Seed Extractory in Oregon.

I've found the project itself to be a mixed experience. On one hand, its an interesting task, finding species for the program and going through the process of collecting. I also deeply enjoy spending time in the field, and doing the collections themselves. Yet, the program is not flawless. There are parts of the protocol that are hard to apply to the desert region. One is the size of the population that the seeds are collected from. In many cases, there aren't enough plants to make a proper collection. Other times, there aren't enough seeds to meet the minimum of 10,000 while only taking 20% of the total seed volume. There are other difficulties, but those are two of the most prominent.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Platystemon californicus

Cream Cups - Platystemon californicus

A member of the poppy family, cream cups are a wide spread species, found from California all the way up into Oregon, east into Arizona, and south to Baja California. Phenotypicaly diverse, this species can be short and ground hugging, to tall and showy. Petal color can vary as well, from pure white to creamy-yellow. The flower stems, leaves and sepals of these plants are often very hairy, giving them a white, furry look.
These plants are popular in the horticultural scene, often used as a landscaping plant.