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The Near Extirpation and Subsequent Restoration of Asarum canadense L. (Wild Ginger) Aristolochiaceae) in Louisiana

Albert J. Meier1,*, Armin R. Meier2, Joleen Stone3, Martin Stone4, and Barry McPhail5

1Western Kentucky University, Department of Biology, 1906 College Heights Boulevard #11080, Bowling Green, KY 42101. 2487 Maxine Drive, Baton Rouge, LA 70808. 3Lovee and Rose Farm, 650 W E Cole Road, Bowling Green, KY 42101. 4Western Kentucky University Department of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 1906 College Heights Boulevard, Bowling Green, KY 42101. 560 South Georgia Avenue, Mobile, AL 36604. *Corresponding author.

Southeastern Naturalist, Volume 19, Issue 2 (2020): 395–402

In 1986, the only known population of Asarum canadense (Wild Ginger) in Louisiana was described. The population is located in the Tunica Hills of West Feliciana Parish, LA. On 26 June 2015, we returned to the location and found a single rhizome with 3 ramets. In an effort to rescue the Louisiana population from extirpation, we collected these ramets and artificially propagated them. Between 19 July 2017 and July 2019, we reintroduced a total of 61 ramets to the site. In addition, we found 13 ramets that had volunteered at the original population location, from which we collected 2 ramets. All of our planted clumps have survived, and these reintroduced plants have exhibited an increase in visible ramets of ~30%. One hundred twenty-two ramets remain in propagation in Kentucky, with additional propagules in the possession of the Louisiana Natural Heritage Program. Herbivory by gastropods appears to be a major threat to the population. A pilot effort to combat this is in progress. We suggest that this small and peripheral population has conservation value for the species as a whole and should receive management effort in order to favor increased population growth rates, create additional populations, and act as a potential source of climatic adaptability for the global population.

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