Rare Plant Research

Picture of a white flower

Memorial University of Newfoundland Botanical Garden (MUNBG,) in conjunction with the Limestone Barrens Species at Risk Recovery Team, plays a crucial role in the maintaining of ex situ populations of rare Newfoundland plants. Our rare plants are confined primarily to the limestone barrens region of the Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland. This small region only comprises 1.7% of Newfoundland’s surface area yet is home to 35 provincially rare plant species, three of which are endemic. MUNBG is focused on the recovery efforts of:

Barren's Willow, an endemic, endangered plant species

<-- Barren's willow

(Salix jejuna, endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)

Long's Braya, an endemic, endangered plant species

Long’s Braya -->

(Braya longii, endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)

Fernald's Braya, an endemic threatened species

(Braya fernaldii, endemic, COSEWIC status threatened)

Low Northern Rockcress, an endemic, endangered species

Low Northern Rockcress -->

(Braya humilis, near endemic, COSEWIC status endangered)

We maintain living plants of the salix and seed bank the seeds of the Braya species. Salix seed have a short viability so seed banking is not an option for this genus.

At the request of the Endangered Species and Biodiversity/ Wildlife Division Department of Environment and Conservation, MUNBG has been asked to expand our ex situ population of provincially rare and endangered species to include:

  • White rattlesnake-root (Prenanthes racemosa, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Mackenzie’s sweet vetch (Hedysarum boreale subsp. mackenzii, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Northern bog aster (Symphytrichum boreale, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Crowded wormseed mustard (Erysimum inconspicuum var. coarctatum, COSEWIC status endangered)
  • Fernald’s milkvetch (Astragalus robbinsii var. fernaldii, near endemic, COSEWIC status vulunerable)a picture of several threatened species in pots
  • Mountain fern (Thelypteris quelpaertensis, COSEWIC status vulnerable)

To this end, we now have northern bog aster, crowded wormseed mustard, and Mountain fern established in our ex situ populations. Seeds of white rattlesnake-root are now secured and germination forthcoming.

a picture of several threatened species in pots

Cutleaf fleabane (Erigeron compositus), false solomon’s-seal (Maianthemum racemosa), Lindley’s aster (Symphyotrichum ciliolatum), Tradescant’s aster (S. tradescantii), sharpleaf aster (Oclenema acuminata), Bodin’s milkvetch (Astragalus bodinii), narrowleaf arnica (Arnica angustifolia subsp. angustifolia), woolly arnica (A. angustifolia subsp. tomentosa), Griscom’s arnica (A. griscomii) and shaved sedge (Carex tonsa) are currently under review by COSEWIC, with plans to add these species to our ex situ populations in the near future. To this end, we have already established ex situ populations of the three Arnica species.