Collect. Cultivate. Curate.
Excellence in Plant Collections Management Symposium

October 16-18 I Vancouver, Canada
Hosted by: UBC Botanical Garden and VanDusen Botanical Garden in partnership with Vancouver Botanical Gardens Association



Beyond Cast Iron: A World-renowned Collection of the genus Aspidistra in Raleigh, NC
Poster Author(s): Amanda Wilkins, Juniper Level Botanic Garden
The humble Cast Iron Plant, mainly represented by Aspidistra elatior, is a well-loved garden plant worldwide. Most would be surprised to hear there are more than 90 recognized species, with more being discovered and described yearly. Aspidistra is a subtropical to tropical genus native to Southeast Asia. Juniper Level Botanic Garden has been collecting Aspidistra for more than 20 years and has amassed a documented collection of 172 taxa, including wild-collected specimens, rare cultivars, and seed-grown individuals. The Garden is actively studying, documenting, and contributing to taxonomic and scientific research to expand our knowledge and appreciation of this genus.

Building Collections Capacity through Partnership       
Poster Author(s):  Martin Nicholson, Hoyt Arboretum 
Hoyt Arboretum is a 200-acre arboretum with limited staff capacity but an extensive tree collection. The poster will highlight how our garden has worked with the US Forest Service and Plant Sentinel Network to promote national programs and contribute to national research and plant preservation programs. Through tours and education, we promote science and research, as well as contributing our experience growing resistant strains of native tree species to existing knowledge of disease resistance. The poster will also highlight the benefits to becoming involved in these programs even when staff time is limited.

Creating and Growing the Hoyt Arboretum Herbarium: Successes and Challenges from our First Eight Years 
Poster Author(s): Mandy Tu, Hoyt Arboretum          
The Hoyt Arboretum Herbarium (HAH) exists to voucher and verify the arboretum’s tree collection, which number over 6,000 accessioned items and encompasses 2,300 species, cultivars and varieties, including 63 IUCN red listed species. The herbarium documents and adds scientific validity to our tree collection, which is internationally recognized for its Acer, Magnolia and conifer collections. We also house specimens of regional value, authenticating and documenting new invasive weeds for local agencies and partners. This poster will display the processes we use to determine species identity, create voucher specimens, and discuss challenges we face for the next 10 years.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is Not the Best Policy
Poster Author(s): Pam Allenstein, American Public Gardens Association, Amy Highland, Mt Cuba Center, Matt Lobdell, The Morton Arboretum, Abby Meyer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International
It matters how and where public gardens obtain plants. As responsible stewards of plant collections held in public trust, they commit to accountability and transparent documentation in their policies and operations. Best practice documents provenance, linking permits and agreements which demonstrate legal and ethical plant acquisitions, use, and distribution. 

From Printed Pin Map to Web Maps: Bridging the Communication Gap between Horticulturists and Plant Recorders
Poster Author(s): Kristen Kindl, Raul Puente, Veronica Nixon, Joni Ward, Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ is home to over 4,700 different species and nearly 30,000 accessioned plants native to deserts of the world.  Maintaining the accuracy of our plant records has always been a priority and a major task of the Living Collection Team.  With the help of the Horticulturists, we have implemented a series of curatorial practices that have improved the efficiency of reporting and data entry. Early practices have included the use of a printed garden pin map to communicate planting activity.  Recently, a Web Map replaced the paper pin map, allowing the use of iPads running Esri’s Collector for ArcGIS App to manage records, reducing the processing time.  We found both practices to be effective in improving the accuracy of our plant records and bridging the communication gap.

From Seed to Tree: Collecting and Curating the Kentucky coffeetree, Gymnocladus dioicus, (L.) K. Koch       
Poster Author(s): Andy Schmitz, Brenton Arboretum, Jeffrey Carstens, USDA-ARS
Collaboration of the authors over the past ten years has resulted in the acquisition and preservation of one of the most comprehensive ex situ woody plant seed collections represented in the U.S. National Plant Germplasm System and a Nationally Accredited Gymnocladus dioicus living collection at the Brenton Arboretum.  Systematical site selection and population sampling techniques strived to ensure a collection adaptable to a wide-range of climatic factors.  The firsthand knowledge of these genetic resources will help with species management efforts and demonstrate the importance of gene banks and arboreta in the conservation of tree genetics.

Post-Fire Recovery of the Ventura Botanical Gardens
Poster Author(s): Bennett Collings, Tracy Long, Ventura Botanical Gardens 
In December of 2018, the entirety of the Ventura Botanical Gardens (VBG) burned in the Thomas Fire. Many discoveries were made in the wake of the fire such as important cultural sites and knowledge that can be applied to prevent loss of specimens if a fire reoccurs. Plants in the Chilean themed area of the gardens showed varied rates of recovery depending on whether they came from fire prone parts of Chile. The Thomas Fire presented the VBG with a plenitude of opportunities to improve the gardens including access, mapping, and expansion of the collection.

Prospects for global management of Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum): Using a “studbook” approach to document pedigree, demography, and genetics
Poster Author(s): Jordan Wood, Andrew Bunting, Jeremie Fant, Marcia Glenn, Chicago Botanic Garden 
Titan Arum (Amorphophallus titanum) is a large charismatic plant, native to Sumatra, that is grown at gardens around the world. Due to its size, it is difficult to maintain multiple plants at each garden. For this reason, we are creating an international “studbook” for all A. titanum plants in cultivation. The studbook for A. titanum will be used to document the pedigree of all plants in cultivation and help inform management, breeding, and conservation decisions. This approach has been shown to be especially valuable for species traditionally maintained in low numbers and where wild-collected germplasm is difficult to attain.

Safeguarding Our Tree Collections: Gardens Coordinate to Manage Biodiversity (E-Poster)
Poster Author(s): P. Griffith, T. Magellan, Montgomery Botanical Center, S. Hoban, M. Westwood, Morton Arboretum, A. Meerow, USDA ARS, K. Havens- Young, J. Fant, Chicago Botanic Garden, Chicago, Illinois, M. Dosmann, Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, D. Lorence, S. Walsh, National Tropical Botanical Garden, J. Clark, Center for Plant Conservation, A. Meyer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International
“Which plants should I grow, and how many?” The IMLS National Leadership Project, Safeguarding our Tree Collections, seeks to answer this fundamental question. Through structured comparisons of genetic data among major groups of seed plants, management recommendations and their broadness can be determined. Results show that careful consideration of the target species is essential when planning for collections management; i.e. biology informs strategy. The application of novel zoo management software to our plant data allows management of “metacollections” at separate gardens. Integrating precise ex situ conservation assessment with in situ management, monitoring, and community outreach can close the loop, ensuring our living treasures do not go extinct.

What is Our Backup Plan? A Look at Collections Security
Poster Author(s): Abby Meyer, Botanic Gardens Conservation International
As gardens across North America endure the most severe natural disasters on record including hurricanes, floods, and wild fires, it is important to consider collections coverage and security. The diverse network of gardens across the continent and world serves as a safety net for plant species facing extinction. To implement The Global Strategy for Plant Conservation and The North American Botanic Garden Strategy for Plant Conservation, BGCI and partners are conducting strategic ex situ gap analyses to identify collection priorities for gardens. One common finding is that a majority of gardens has at least one, globally unique taxon that no other garden has reported. This begs the question of collections security for those taxa. For plants on the brink of extinction, a recent survey of gardens with extinct in the wild taxa found that a majority of them are maintained in only one or a few collections. If we can leverage the garden community to complement and backup collections within and among institutions, we can close gaps and secure plant diversity for the future.

A Bird’s Eye View: Using Drones for Plant Collections Management
Poster Author(s): Cindy Newlander, Holly Parrott, Alissa Schade, Jen Toews and Gavin Culbertson
Drones have proven to have many uses throughout numerous industries. Denver Botanic
Gardens has integrated drone imagery for plant collections mapping, specifically for hardscape integration into Auto-CAD base maps. Step-by-step instructions will be shared. Other ways in which the Gardens have utilized drone technology for day-to-day operations will also be discussed.