18 months after getting the nursery off the ground we embarked on a new challenge. We were given the opportunity to do some research into a strange member of the protea family from the mountains of Chile. Radal Enano (Orites myrtoidea) as it is known locally, is an Endangered species that has so far proven difficult in cultivation. Hopefully we can unlock the secret to growing this species and make it secure in gardens away from its threatened home.
ICCP and RGBE to the rescue for Chilean flora.
ICCP projects have included field surveys and inventories, the establishment of private protected areas, post graduate training in taxonomy and conservation genetics, undergraduate training in botanic garden practices and horticulture, and genetic analysis of threatened conifer and angiosperm species in the wild and in cultivation. You can find out more HERE
Germination is easy, the challenge is keeping them alive!
It is severely threatened in its natural habitat by dam construction for hydro electric power schemes and road construction.
Bringing the species into cultivation so that it can be conserved ‘ex-situ’ has not proven easy. Whilst the seed germinates readily they do not survive long and die very quickly.
Knowing that the team from ICCP were out in Chile during March 2017 we asked if there was any thing that I could do to assist with the predicament Orites faces.
Martin Gardner, the projects lead, was pleased to collect and send us seed so we can hopefully assist in unlocking this plant’s secrets and make it secure in cultivation here in the UK.
Orites myrtoidea has only ever been grown in the UK successfully twice, at Benmore Botanic Gardens and at the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh. Unfortunately it has performed poorly in cultivation and the plant at Benmore died.