Plant story - the endangered starfruit is restored back to native habitat in the UK
Wakehurst horticultural staff working with Plantlife, Natural England and local authorities have reintroduced starfruit (Damasonium alisma) to pond margins on Greenham Common.
01 Jan 2010
Re-introducing D. alisma into ponds at Greenham Common (Photo: J Wenham)
Starfruit is a beautiful aquatic herb found at muddy pond margins where the water level fluctuates, and likes the trampling effect of cattle. Its preferred area has drastically reduced in recent decades and the species was not recorded in the wild at all in 2006. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank holds seeds from four different UK sites.
The original starfruit seed collections were small, but in 2001 Kew horticulturalists used seed to grow plants at Wakehurst resulting in the harvesting of about 29,000 seeds.
Damasonium alisma (starfruit) seeds are shaped like stars (Photo © RBG Kew)
Wakehurst horticultural staff have been working with Plantlife, Natural England and local authorities to introduce starfruit to pond margins on Greenham Common, using seed, and plants raised from seed stored in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank. Apparently starfruit is only able to flourish if pond margins are disturbed by animals. On Greenham Common, cattle use the ponds for drinking and it is hoped that the action of their hooves churning up the mud will help to provide suitable conditions for the survival of the introduced material.
Story by Jo Wenham, Wakehurst (2007) | More plant stories
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Without plants there could be no life on earth, and yet every day another four plant species face extinction. Too often when we hear these kind of statistics there is little that we can do as individuals, but thanks to Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership and the Adopt a Seed, Save a Species campaign there is something that you can do to ensure the survival of a plant species.
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