Conservation work in Oxfordshire
OBGA works with local conservation groups including The Freshwater Habitats Trust (FHT) who run the ‘Saving Oxford’s Wetland Wildlife Project’. OBGA is currently propagating plant species for the FHT for its ‘Species Conservation Hub’ at Boundary Brook Nature Park, for example Sium latifolium, a plant once typical of wet, species-rich, tall-herb fens in the UK, now much declined. Our horticulturalists have successfully provided FHT with Sium latifolium plants for new ponds created in Oxfordshire. We also propagate other rare aquatic species including frogbit bareroot Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, and bladderwort Utricularia australis. We are also collaborating with Christ Church and TVWMRP to develop a restoration programme for Christ Church Meadow as part of the Thames Valley Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project.
OBGA has a research focus on parasitic plants and now has many representatives from across nine genera in its propagation programme. These plants are parasitic, meaning they extract their nutrients from the roots of other plants (their ‘host plants’). Among them are the so-called broomrapes (Orobanche) on which our scientists carry out research along with botanists at London’s Natural History Museum. Most broomrape species are very rare in the UK and have been neglected from conservation efforts because of perceived difficulty in their cultivation. Our work on parasitic plant propagation seeks to establish these important plants in conservation programmes around the world.