Navigation Links
Weed Scientists Take Steps to Protect Rare Orchid
Date:9/28/2009

One of the most aggressive weeds in North America has invaded the natural habitat of the western prairie fringed orchid and has caused the delicate flower to teeter on the brink of extinction. Now weed scientists are regaining the upper hand with integrated control techniques that are eliminating the leafy spurge and giving the rare orchid a chance to bounce back.

Lawrence, KS (PRWEB) September 28, 2009 -- The western prairie fringed orchid (Platanthera praeclara) is a delicate wildflower that has been teetering on the brink of extinction. The culprit? Leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula), one of the most aggressive weeds in North America, is destroying the orchid's remaining natural habitat. Scientists are turning the tide with new integrated weed control strategies that are giving the rare orchid a chance to bounce back.

Dr. Rodney Lym, a professor of plant sciences with North Dakota State University, explains that leafy spurge has invaded thousands of acres of meadowlands and prairies west of the Mississippi that were once the fringed orchid's home.

"The extent of the problem is really staggering," Lym says. "Leafy spurge grows so aggressively it is upsetting natural ecosystems and dramatically reducing biodiversity as it crowds out native species."

The Sheyenne National Grassland in southeastern North Dakota is home to one of the largest remaining stands of the western prairie fringed orchid. The plant grows on only 1,200 of Sheyenne's 23,750 acres and is classified as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act.

Lym and fellow researchers in the Plant Sciences Department at North Dakota State University decided to design a leafy spurge control strategy that would protect the orchid's natural habitat. In doing so, they faced a number of challenges. Often herbicides are not allowed near sensitive threatened species, but biological and mechanical controls have not been effective against leafy spurge in the sandy soils where the orchid is found.

With permission from government officials, the university team pursued an integrated approach that combined highly targeted herbicide treatments with a natural biocontrol - a tiny flea beetle (Aphthona spp.) that enjoys feasting on leafy spurge leaves and roots.

"We applied the herbicide once in the fall, when the orchid was at the end of its annual blooming cycle and less likely to be injured," Lym said. "That gave us a way to knock back the weed while the flea beetle population was getting established."

Researchers found that their integrated program controlled 99 percent of the leafy spurge across the acres treated, without damaging the reproduction or development of the orchid itself. Their approach has tipped the balance back towards the natural ecosystem in the Sheyenne National Grassland, where native vegetation is now being reintroduced and the prairie orchid is better able to grow.

The same experience has begun to play out across North Dakota, says Lym, who is a 30-year veteran of the leafy spurge wars. He reports that prior to 1995, the number of infested acres in the state doubled every 10 years. Thanks to the combination of herbicides and biocontrols, the trend has now reversed. Half of the 1.6 million acres overrun by leafy spurge have been reclaimed.

"The right mix of weed control tools is helping us win the battle," Lym says. "We're able to manage leafy spurge over the long-term and reclaim our natural ecosystems so that the prairie orchid and other native plants can thrive."

About the Weed Science Society of America:
The Weed Science Society of America, a nonprofit professional society, was founded in 1956 to encourage and promote the development of knowledge concerning weeds and their impact on the environment. The Weed Science Society of America promotes research, education and extension outreach activities related to weeds, provides science-based information to the public and policy makers, and fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural ecosystems. For more information, visit www.wssa.net.

###

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2009/09/prweb2945394.htm.


'/>"/>
Source: PRWeb
Copyright©2009 Vocus, Inc.
All rights reserved  

Related biology technology :

1. Alzheimers Drug Discovery Foundation and the Lewy Body Dementia Association Invite Scientists to Apply for LBD Grant Award Program
2. Invasive Saltcedar Triggers Lively Debate among Weed Scientists and Land Managers
3. UK scientists developing intelligent harvesting robot to save farms up to 100,000 a year
4. NIST scientists study how to stack the deck for organic solar power
5. UCR scientists manipulate ripples in graphene, enabling strain-based graphene electronics
6. World Renowned Scientists Gather to Share Latest Information on Answer to Wildlife Reproductive Fertility Control
7. Scientists discover repulsive side to light force
8. UCR physicist receives highest honor US government gives young scientists or engineers
9. Stem cells suspended state preserved by key step, scientists report
10. Scientists create first electronic quantum processor
11. Scientists identify gene vital to early embryonic cells forming a normal heart and skull
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Weed Scientists Take Steps to Protect Rare Orchid
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The leading Regenerative Veterinary Medicine Company, VetStem Biopharma ., ... over 100 of their own patients with the VetStem Cell Therapy. Each of these ... for their patients. , The veterinarians are Dr Ross Rich former owner of ...
(Date:5/20/2016)... ... May 20, 2016 , ... Korean researchers say Manumycin A triggers apoptosis, ... new way to treat the disease. Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted an article on ... several Korean institutions based their mesothelioma study on the fact the Manumycin A, a ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... ... May 19, 2016 , ... Anton Paar USA, located ... foot office building is complete. The new structure adds a third office building to ... Paar USA purchased 2.4 acres of land, along with office space adjacent to ...
(Date:5/19/2016)... YORK , May 19, 2016 ... space will fully recover given the relentless pressures in ... for sure in the investors circle though - numerous ... due-diligence. Ahead of today,s session, ActiveWallSt.com,s presents four names ... PTLA ), Vitae Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: VTAE ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:3/31/2016)... 2016  Genomics firm Nabsys has completed a financial ... Bready , M.D., who returned to the company in ... leadership team, including Chief Technology Officer, John Oliver ... Nurnberg and Vice President of Software and Informatics, ... Dr. Bready served as CEO of Nabsys from ...
(Date:3/21/2016)... WAKEFIELD, Massachusetts , March 22, 2016 ... and facial recognition with passcodes for superior security ... MESG ), a leading provider of secure digital communications ... pilot their biometric technology and offer enterprise customers, particularly ... provide secure facial recognition and voice authentication within a ...
(Date:3/14/2016)... -- NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the "Company"), a ... airing of a new series of commercials on Time Warner ... st .  The commercials will air on Bloomberg TV, Fox ... Street show. --> NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or the ... announces the airing of a new series of commercials on ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):