Under the UN Global Strategy for Plant Conservation, Germany has committed itself to the conservation of wild plants. This involves protecting their natural habitats, of course, but in many cases, the plants must be propagated elsewhere. This type of controlled cultivation is called an ‘ex-situ culture’ Its long-term objective is to return the plants to their original locations.
Cultivating rare and/or endangered plant species is one of the original functions of a botanical garden and an important contribution to the protection of biodiversity. Approximately 15% of all plants cultivated at the HHU botanical garden are endangered, protected or both.
The HHU botanical garden currently fosters ex-situ cultures of 14 endangered species that are native to Germany. One of them is Anagallis tenella, the bog pimpernel. It is a small, inconspicuous plant that grows near springs, bogs and swamps. Human intervention has taken it to the verge of extinction. In all of North Rhine-Westphalia, only one very small habitat near Salzkotten survives. The bog pimpernel is a relevant factor in construction projects in the state.
Its ex-situ cultivation is coordinated by the project group for conserving native wild plants, an initiative of the German botanical gardens association (Verband Botanischer Gärten e.V.). Nearly all highly endangered plants of Germany have been added to the various gardens already.