Transplanting wild microbes from healthy related plants can make a native Hawaiian plant healthier and likelier to survive in wild according to new research from the Amend Laboratory in the University of Hawai?i at M?noa botany department and the O?ahu Army Natural Resources Program (OANRP). Professor Anthony Amend and postdoctoral researcher Geoff Zahn used microbes to restore the health of a critically endangered Hawaiian plant that, until now, had been driven to extinction in the wild and only survived in managed greenhouses under heavy doses of fungicide.
The plant, Phyllostegia kaalaensis, is in the mint family and only grew in the Wai?anae mountain range in West O?ahu. It is listed as critically-endangered, and from 2002 until now, has only existed in two greenhouses on O?ahu—one managed by the State of Hawai?i and one by the U.S. Army. The major threats to its survival in the wild are habitat loss, invasive …
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