View Full Version : Genetic Diversity of Cuttings

08-12-2003, 09:40 AM
I have been rooting out cuttings of pink flowering currant. I bought a few plants a couple of years ago at the East Bay Native Plant Society annual plant sale. The cuttings from these plants seem to root easily almost all year round. So, I recently potted about 100 cuttings, for future plantings at my creek/park across the street. I was wondering, though, that since these cuttings are clones, should I get other cuttings from other pink flowering currant plants so that there is stronger diversity of the gene pool?</p>


08-18-2003, 07:23 AM
Yes! There is indeed a concern about use of genetically identical plant clones in large numbers.

Natural genetic variation ensures that pink flowering currant plants even in the same general area will bloom at slightly different times, and have flowers ranging from white to deep pink. There are probably variations in amount of nectar, etc. All these variations make for a much wider range of options for wildlife, than having all the plants just the same.

Further, there could well be differences in response to herbivory - munching by deer and insects - that could affect which plants thrive and survive. So, the answer is, YES, please do make cuttings from other plants. This is especially important when planting in or near wildlands.


Lori Hubbart</p>

08-18-2003, 12:08 PM
Thank you, Lori. In some cases, I guess there is that fine line if you have one or two established plants in an area. Should you augment with plants from the outside, gaining diversity, yet perhaps overwhelming a local variety, or reproduce with the limited local stock? In this case, the point is moot since there are no remaining native Currant plants in the vicinity. The site is basically a 3.2 acre urban traffic island with a creek in the middle. The area was developed between 1900-1920, with an overhead freeway added in the 1950`s. Still, the site has many native Live Oaks and Redwoods. It`s mostly the understory that is the problem, as most of the native understory was probably removed when it was a horse exercise track at the turn of the century.</p>


08-21-2003, 05:25 AM
J. Trapp -

Now you`re getting into the 'How Local is Local?' issue. Though true restorationists always want plants grown from onsite material, what if the onsite plants are very limited? I think it`s good to get plant material from the surrounding areas, rather than plant out a species with very limited genetic variability.

If you can get cuttings from the surrounding area 5 mile radius? 10 mile radius? that would be good. Again, it depends on the area. I consider plants from 10 miles up or down the coast to be more genetically compatible with the plants on my coastal site than the same species from 10 miles inland.

Hope you have the time and resources to try seeds and cuttings - play around with the plants, look for native remnants in your area.

Have fun,

Lori Hubbart </p>