NANFA-L-- F. julisia (was myth of restoration)

Christopher Scharpf (
Sun, 08 May 2005 08:39:49 -0400

> I think it's called the Dwarf Horse Nettle.

There's probably a reason why this plant is not in the hands of private
gardeners: It looks just like Solanum carolinense, a common native weed. In
fact, I think the 2 species were considered conspecific until the mid-90s.

> It occurs to me that some of you probably fall into this category. Well,
> sorry, but you make me sick.

Sorry, dude. Take some Pepto. :-)

> Over on the NFC board a few months ago I recall a discussion about the
> Barrens Topminnow, Fundulus julisia. It is found in only three tiny
> little spots now, and many NFC'ers felt that the way to save the species
> was to leave them strictly alone and preserve those three critical
> sites. Breed them in aquaria? No way, they said. Move some around from
> site to site to ensure good gene mixing? Ridiculous!

J.R. Shute and Pat Rakes have been breeding F. julisia in aquaria for years,
and with the help of the Tennessee Aquarium, maintain "ark" populations in
case of tanker truck accidents and other disasters, both natural and
anthropogenic. They also work very hard to keep stock from the various
spring populations separate while still maintaining genetic variability.
Truth be told, the work they do with F. julisia and other species -- the
sheer volume and man-hours involved -- is beyond the means of the average
home aquarist.

The Nature Conservancy is not in the business of propagating species.
They're in the business of buying land and preserving wild places -- as a
necessary first step in saving not just species, but ecosystems. Are they
aggressive in their fundraising? You bet! They have to be. But they're no
more aggressive than the National Rifle Association and other cause
organizations. Buying real estate is expensive, especially when one has to
outbid corporations and developers with infinitely deeper pockets.

Who would you rather see buy "your" welaka pond, TNC or Wal-Mart?

Be that as it may, TNC does on occasion give the land it buys back to the
federal government to be protected as national wildlife refuges, etc. Not
that TNC had anything to do with this, but isn't part of the dwarf
horse-nettle's habitat inside the Cahaba National Wildlife Refuge?

Gleefully making people sick,

Chris Scharpf
TNC Member and Contributor

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