Protecting Threatened Plant Species
In Québec, as elsewhere, the loss of natural habitats means that many plant populations have disappeared and that a number of vulnerable and threatened plant species are facing possible extinction. Preserving these habitats remains the best way of protecting populations of threatened species, many of which are found in unique or increasingly rare ecosystems.
A complimentary conservation approach involves growing plants from natural populations and maintainging them off-site, or ex-situ. This stopgap measure ensures that these plants are available as a gene pool for potential reintroduction in their natural habitats.
The Montreal Botanical Garden and its partners have implemented an ex-situ conservation program for threatened species in southern Quebec. In order to accomplish this, several botanists explored southern Quebec to gather seeds or cuttings. Very strict rules were followed in harvesting this plant material so as to minimise the impact on natural populations. The plants grown from these seeds and cuttings are kept in the garden’s experimental and exhibition sites and are therefore available for research and education.
Discovering Some Threatened Species of Quebec
A number of plant species that are threatened in southern Quebec are grown at the Montréal Botanical Garden. Visitors can admire some unusual native plants in the Shade Garden, near the Tree House pond, in the First Nations Garden, in the Quebec Corner, in the Perennial Plants Garden and in the Alpine Garden. The threatened plants are identified with green labels to distinguish them from common collection specimens.
This collection provides a unique opportunity to appreciate the wealth of our plant life and to get a close look at plants that are difficult to observe in the wild. They remind us of the importance of protecting natural habitats and promoting sustainable development practices. For it is vital that we balance economic development, environmental protection and conservation of our biodiversity.
Plants in the Botanical Garden of Montreal. Photo: © ProvinceQuebec.com
Threatened plans in production in the Botanical Garden :
- Peltandra virginica (Arrow arum)
- Polemonium vanbruntiae (Van Brun jacob’s-ladder)
- Gentianopsis crinita (Fringed gentian)
- Symphyotrichum pilosum var. pringlei (Pringle’s aster)
- Polygonum hydropiperoides var. hydropiperoides (Mild smartweed)