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Preservation of seed in living collections of Quercus havardii, a Western sand dune oak

We collected acorns from across the range of Quercus havardii and distributed them to partner gardens to grow, research, and showcase this unique oak to the public.

Preservation of seed in living collections of Quercus havardii, a Western sand dune oak
An acorn of Quercus havardii

Description/abstract

We are working with a threatened desert adapted oak found in the Western US, called shinnery oak (Q. havardii). This species is a very small tree or shrub which occurs in sand dune habitats. Shinnery oak habitat is threatened and shrinking, and new seedlings are very rare. We performed a conservation seed collection funded by the US Forest Service and American Public Gardens Association. In 2016, we drove 2000 miles across the Western US to visit 36 populations and collect 1700 acorns, which we then distributed to 10 institutions across the US. These partner institutes will grow and display this species for the public and for use. Before this conservation collection trip, this threatened species was  only present in one public garden. Our work has therefore increased the number of the Shinnery Oaks in living collections, and will lead to new scientific research projects and collaborations among scientists and conservationists. Some of these plants will be planted at The Morton Arboretum and we hope some are hardy enough to survive.

Funding sources

American Public Gardens Association/US Forest Service Seed Collection grants

Project status

Complete

Timeline

2016-2018