Micropropagation has proven to be useful in research and conservation of endangered plant species. In efforts to sustain naturally occurring populations, micropropagation has been used to maintain and restore genetic diversity (Godt et al., 1997; Hammatt and Evans, 1985; Machon et al., 2001) and supplement populations in their native habitat (Anand and Rao, 2000; Jamison and Renfroe, 1998). Furthermore, micropropagation provides a means of mass producing plants, thereby relieving harvesting pressure on those species of economic importance (Negash, 2002; Rai, 2002; Rosas et al., 2001; Rubluo et al., 1993). In the United States, federal policy restricts reintroduction of propagated plants as a recovery strategy unless all other methods to improve a listed species status have failed, or have proved to be ineffective (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2000). However, federal policy does allow propagation of endangered plant species for purposes of scientific research.
In 2002, the Center for Bottomland Hardwoods Research (CBHR) began conducting extensive, multidisciplinary research on Lindera melissifolia, a federally endangered shrub (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1986) endemic to the southeastern United States. Of special concern were L. melissifolia populations growing in periodically flooded bottomland forests in the Mississippi Delta of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV). The LMAV has been described as one of the most endangered ecosystems in the United States (Noss et al., 1995), primarily affected by agriculture and changes in hydrologic cycles from flood control projects (Stanturf et al., 2000). In light of the potential for future anthropogenic disturbance in this physiographic region, and in keeping with the pondberry recovery plan (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1993), a need exists for an understanding of life history attributes of L. melissifolia and development of management practices that will ensure the sustainability of native populations.
In order for CBHR to carry out pondberry research, it was necessary that 1) acquisition of large quantities of plants did not create a severe harvesting impact on naturally occurring pondberry populations, 2) plants used in the research process represented a reasonable cross-section of genotypes from the Mississippi Delta, and 3) upon initiation of some studies, plants be of the same physiological age and of reasonably uniform size. It was decided that micropropagation would be the best alternative for satisfying these criteria. Therefore, the objective of this initial investigation was to establish a protocol for micropropagation of L. melissifolia.
Anand, A. & Rao, C.S. 2000 A rapid in vitro propagation protocol for Piper barberi Gamble, a critically endangered plant In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 36 61 64
Eccher, T. & Noe, N. 1989 Comparison between 2iP and zeatin in the micropropagation of highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum) Acta Hort. 241 185 190
Godt, M.J.W. , Race, T. & Hamrick, J.L. 1997 A population genetic analysis of Ziziphus celata, an endangered Florida shrub J. Hered. 88 53 55
Hammatt, N. & Evans, P.K. 1985 The in vitro propagation of an endangered species: Centaurea junoniana Svent. (Compositae) J. Hort. Sci. 60 93 97
Lloyd, G. & McCown, B. 1980 Commercially-feasible micropropagation of mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia, by use of shoot-tip culture Proc. Intl. Plant Prop. Soc. 30 421 427
Machon, N. , Guillon, J.M. , Dobigny, G. , Le Cadre, S. & Moret, J. 2001 Genetic variation in the horsetail Equisetum variegatum Schleich., an endangered species in the Parisian region Biodivers. Conserv. 10 1543 1554
McCown, B.H. 1985 From gene manipulation to forest establishment: Shoot cultures of woody plants can be a central tool Tappi J. 68 116 119
McCown, B.H. & Lloyd, G.B. 1982 A survey of the response of Rhododendron to in vitro culture Plant Cell Tissue Organ Cult. 2 77 85
McCown, D.D. & McCown, B.H. 1987 North American hardwoods 247 260 Bonga J.M. & Durzan D.J. Cell and tissue culture in forestry Martinus Nijhoff Publishing, Dordrecht the Netherlands
Negash, L. 2002 Successful vegetative propagation techniques for the threatened African pencil cedar (Juniperus procera Hoechst. ex Endl.) For. Ecol. Manage. 161 53 64
Noss, R.F. , Laroe, E.T. III & Scott, J.M. 1995 Endangered ecosystems of the United States: A preliminary assessment of loss and degradation U.S. Biol. Report 28. Nat. Biol. Serv Washington, DC
Rai, V.R. 2002 Rapid clonal propagation of Nothapodytes foetida (Wight) Sleumer: A threatened medicinal tree In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 38 317 351
Rosas, M.M. , Monroy de la Rosa, M.A. , Goldammer, K.M. & Chavez Avila, V.M. 2001 Micropropagation of Turbinicarpus laui Glass et Foster, an endemic and endangered species In Vitro Cell. Dev. Biol. 37 400 404
Rubluo, A. , Chavez, V. , Martinez, A.P. & Martinez-Vazquez, O. 1993 Strategies for the recovery of endangered orchids and cacti through in-vitro culture Biol. Conserv. 63 163 169
Stanturf, J.A. , Gardiner, E.S. , Hamel, P.B. , Devall, M.S. , Leininger, T.D. & Warren M.E Jr 2000 Restoring bottomland hardwood ecosystems in the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley J. For. 98 10 16
Tetsumura, T. & Yamashita, K. 2004 Micropropagation of Japanese chestnut (Castanea crenata Sieb. et Zucc.) seedlings HortScience 37 1684 1687
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1986 Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; Determination of endangered status for Lindera melissifolia Federal Register 51 27495 27500
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1993 Recovery plan for pondberry (Lindera melissifolia [Walt.] Blume) U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Atlanta, Ga
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 2000 Policy regarding controlled propagation of species listed under the endangered species act Federal Register 65 56916 56922