Living plant collections play an important role in conserving plant biodiversity. We collect and cultivate threatened tree species to learn about and safeguard important sources of tree genetic diversity.
Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidata (pyramid magnolia) is a taxon of conservation concern distributed predominantly throughout the gulf coastal plain of the southeastern United States. It is threatened by a
variety of destructive human activities, including clearing, disturbance, and development.
In cultivation, Magnolia fraseri var. pyramidata is sparsely represented, and almost exclusively by material of garden or insufficiently documented origin. In 2016 only 14 arboreta or botanical gardens worldwide reported collections of the species to Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI). Nine members of the Plant Collections Network Magnolia Curatorial Group hold the taxon, but only one accession is of known wild origin. The species is frequently commercially available from specialty nurseries, but is uncommon to rare in the horticulture industry at large.
In an effort to better understand distribution of this species and increase documented holdings of this species in living collections, The Morton Arboretum partnered with Bartlett Tree Research Laboratories
and Arboretum, Mercer Arboretum, University of Florida North Research and Education Center, and Chicago Botanic Garden to scout populations, assess their health, and collect seed when
present for propagation and distribution.
In August 2016, our team of staff from the above institutions collected a total of 84 fruits and 507 seeds across 13 sites spanning seven counties, three states, and a linear distance of 545 mi (877 km). Two herbarium vouchers were also collected from each site to document occurrence of the population. A total of 12 botanical institutions across the United States and Canada accessioned germplasm resulting from this project, aiding in effective distribution for ex-situ conservation purposes.
APGA/USFS Tree Gene Conservation Partnership