Japan seed collecting trip - target plants and collecting equipment

Posted: October 4, 2011 at 15:53 pm

Westonbirt Arboretum’s Director, Simon Toomer, and Superintendent, Mark Ballard, are currently in Japan for two weeks to collect seed from the wild. The trip will help to develop Westonbirt’s tree collection with more diverse species of maples and other trees from this temperate climate. The team wish to thank the private donor with a passion for plants and science who has funded this trip.

Before setting out on the trip, Simon and Mark put together a 'target list' of the top priority plants that they are aiming to collect seed from whilst in Japan. This list comprises 63 target plants, including 17 species of Acer and 35 other genera of plants including Euonymus, Fagus, Magnolia, Stewartia and Tilia.

They also put together a list of collecting materials and equipment, including some key equipment for collecting the seed:

1. Hessian or muslin bags

2. Plastic sandwich bags

3. Tyvek bags

4. Bin Liners

5. Self adhesive address labels

6. Labels

7. Indelible marker pens

8. Herbarium press & kit

9. Pruning equipment

10. Collecting buckets

Of course, there is also equipment for recording the trees, ranging from an A4 manuscript book (and wet weather protection for this!) to a laptop, as well as plant identification books - even our experts like to be sure they've got the right tree!

Some parts of the kit list paint a picture of a very traditional 'plant hunter', with gloves, gaiters and binoculars all playing a part. But mobile phones, GPS (and AA batteries!) and plant collecting permits also feature as modern elements of this plant hunting expedition.

For those who want full details of the top priority plants that Mark and Simon are looking for the list is below. We'll have to wait until they return to find out how successful they were in finding all of these!

Genus Species
Acer carpinifolium
Acer caudatum subsp. ukurunduense
Acer diabolicum
Acer distylum
Acer miyabei
Acer miyabei var. shibatai
Acer oblongum
Acer pictum
Acer pictum subsp. taishakuense
Acer pictum var. ambiguum
Acer pictum var. connivens
Acer pictum var. marmoratum f. dissectum
Acer pictum var. trichobasis
Acer pycnanthum
Acer shirasawanum
Acer tschonoskii
Acer oblongum var. itoanum
Alnus hirsuta
Aphananthe aspera
Broussonetia kazinoki
Castanopsis sieboldii
Cinnamomum japonicum
Cladrastis platycarpa
Clethra barbinervis
Diospyros japonica
Diospyros kaki
Disanthus cercidifolius
Edgeworthia chrysantha
Euonymus melananthus
Euonymus oxyphyllus
Fagus crenata
Fagus japonica
Fraxinus apertisquamifera
Fraxinus insularis
Helwingia japonica
Juglans mandschurica var. sachalinensis
Kalopanax pictus
Lagerstromia fauriei
Lindera sericea var. glabrata
Magnolia salicifolia
Magnolia stellata
Mallotus japonicus
Neolitsea sericea
Ostrya japonica
Platycarya strobilacea
Populus maximowiczii / sieboldii
Prunus sargentii
Pseudotsuga japonica
Quercus phillyraeoides
Rhus verniciflua
Sapium japonicum
Sciadopitys verticillata
Stewartia monadelpha
Stewartia pseudocamellia
Stewartia serrata
Styrax shiraianum
Thuja standishii
Tilia japonica
Tilia kiusiana
Tilia mandschurica
Tilia maximowicziana
Tilia rufo-villosa
Torreya nucifera