BioRisk 6: 41-60, doi: 10.3897/biorisk.6.1568
A strategy for conservation and investigation of the protected resurrection plant Haberlea rhodopensis Friv.
Evelina Daskalova, Slaveya Dontcheva, Galina Yahoubian, Ivan Minkov, Valentina Toneva

Representatives of the resurrection plants from Gesneriaceae family are included in the Red Book of Bulgaria, in the European Register of rare, endangered, and endemic plants, and are subjects of world’s conventions on the preservation of the biodiversity. The unique feature of these plants to recover from prolonged dehydration (anabiosis) is explored in numerous studies. These species are also Tertiary relics, so they could give us important knowledge about plant evolution.

Our research group at the University of Plovdiv has established a national in vitro gene bank for Haberlea rhodopensis Friv. (25 localities) and Ramonda serbica Panc. (2 localities) from Bulgaria. The national gene bank is based on original and modified in vitro technologies and can serve as a conservation and biodiversity investigation center for the family Gesneriaceae.

Basing on our work with Haberlea rhodopensis Friv., we are developing a strategy for conservation and investigation of rare and relic plant species (mapping and exploration of habitats – assessing the local risk of extinction - introducing in an in vitro gene bank - model plants for research – adaptation and possible re-introduction in endangered habitats). This strategy can be adapted and used for conservation and investigation of other rare, protected, relic and endemic plants from other regions of Europe and worldwide.