Friday, February 5, 2010

Rare and Covered Plants

The issue with conserving the pollinators of rare plants is two-fold: often the pollinator of a particular plant is not known, and if it is, the biology and particular habitat needs of that pollinator may not be known.

There is limited published research on conserving pollinators related to rare plants. One exception is a paper by Snipes and Tepedino (1995) discussing the conservation of Ute ladies tresses (Spiranthes diluvialis), a rare orchid found in Colorado and Utah. The authors found that bumblebees were the most important pollinators, even though they visited for nectar only; the orchids’ pollinaria were attached while the bees nectared. The authors recommended that management of the orchid must include consideration of bumble bees, particularly avoiding disturbance to habitat, protecting and retaining nest sites, providing flowers throughout bumble bee season (nectar and pollen when orchid is not blooming, pollen while it is), and establishing an insecticide-free buffer during grasshopper control spraying. This last recommendation, obviously, is specific to the location of the orchid. Grasshopper control is likely not an issue for Yolo County [and Niagara County], but pesticide use in the area adjacent to rare plants certainly is.

Key Points
• Little is known about the pollinators of rare plants

• Specific conservation strategies are hard to prepare without detailed information on the habitat needs of pollinators.

Source: Yolo Natural Heritage Program (HCP/NCCP) Pollinator Conservation Strategy
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation, Portland, OR / Sacramento, CA

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