of the "Red Data Book". But the number of endangered species is in excess of 20.000 and it was soon recognized that this technique would not be rapid enough, and many species would be extinct before the list could be completed and action taken. In 1974, therefore, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (I.U.C.N.) set up the "Threatened Plants Committee" with a secretariat at Kew. Information is now being gathered by regional and specialist groups, and botanic gardens are providing support by holding and propagating threatened species. Besides the preparation of detailed records for the Red Data Book, work is going ahead on regional lists of endangered species, and these are now available for Europe and North America, with others for North Africa and Arabia approaching completion.
One of the specialist groups aiding the Threatened Plants Committee is the International Organization for Succulent Plant Study (I.O.S). which first turned its a congress in Reading in 1973, and has kkkss
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since published, among other things, a register of specialist collections of succulents in the United Kingdom3, and a Code of Conduct that all its members are expected to follow (7.5).
Because the Code is aimed at all persons interested in any way with succulents, be they botanists, commercial growers, managers of botanical and public gardens or private enthusiasts, it is reprinted here in full.
Many lovers of succulents are sympathetic to the cause, and ask: "How can I help?". The Code provides the answers. It is not intended as a deterrent to private collectors: indeed, well-documented collections are an essential asset to the conservation movement. But anything that can discourage bulk exporting from the habitats is good: if plants are allowed abroad at all (and several countries now have strict legislation for both exporting and importing) they should go where they are to be used as a source of study or propagation.
By way of example, I recall a memorable visit to a mountain in the Kango Valley region of South Africa in 1971, when I was privileged to see the rare and much sought after Haworthia gramim-folia and to photograph it in habitat (7.7). The plants grow on one side of the mountain only, surrounded by tussocks of grass that they resemble so closely that, unless they are in flower, the only way to find one is to dig a sod of turf and look for the clump of fat. dahlia-like roots. A small sampling was transferred live to my glasshouse in England where they flower annually. By persevering with hand pollination of every bloom, I have had up to 100 seeds a year: enough to send out on Reading University's annual seedlist so that its survival is now assured, and my conscience is salved for having taken the liberty of collecting wild specimens.
The emphasis, then, should be on propagation: to own the only plant of a rarity and make no effort to multiply it is false economy, for one day it will die. If you had handed out offsets, someone might then be in a position to offer a replacement. "If you want tokeepa plant, give it away" is a maxim that has been handed down through generations of gardeners. Even more important is the future of a whole collection—a point many a grower never thinks about. He dies, his plants are left until they become pest-ridden and unsaleable, and a life's work in building up the collection is lost in a few months. Verbal or (better) written instructions should always be left on how to dispose of your collection in the event of your death.
Greater education of the young in respect for nature, and an increased awareness among collectors of what they stand to guard, will achieve more for useful prickly pears, as we have seen. And for the few succulents whose utility is known to man, there are hundreds of others that have never been investigated. What hidden virtues might a later generation reveal in them? Already the unexpected find that the 'Elephant's Foot' plant (21.8) can help the cortisone industry is a hint of what might await discovery. Until we can create plants to order, we should think twice before allowing any species to disappear from this planet if we can avoid it.
Right (7.6]: Giant saguaros (Carnegiea gigantea) unmolested among spring /lowers in the most lamous ol sanctuaries leaturing succulents: the Saguaro National Monument
Below (7.71: Haworthia graminitolia in habitat in the Kango Valley. South Africa and (inset] flowering in cultivation. This rarity is being increased in cultivation by hand-pollinated seed conservation in the long run than harsh laws that are difficult to enforce and often draw unwanted attention to the rarities they seek to protect.
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