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In the SZTE Botanical Garden, nature conservation-related research began in the early 2000s. Reproductive biology tests were carried out on the following plant species: spring primrose (Primula veris), stemless primrose (Primula vulgaris), Siberian rose petal (Iris sibirica), medical calumny (Acorus calamus), lamb roast (Alcanna tinctoria).

Since 2006, the Kiskunság National Park has been involved in the LIFE tender, and the focus of research has shifted towards ex situ (remote from the habitat) plant propagation.

In addition to the Kiskunság National Park, since 2011 active cooperation has also been established with the Körös-Maros National Park. The Füvészkert is the ideal location for ex situ (remote from the habitat) plant propagation, and the plants grown in the garden are then planted in national park areas, thus contributing to the preservation of the area's biodiversity.

Below is a brief overview of the research topics carried out in the SZTE Botanical Garden from 2006 to the present day.

Protection of native perennial carnation, LIFE-Nature project, 2006-2011

The persistent carnation (Dianthus diutinus) native plant species in Hungary. It is a highly protected plant, with a conservation value of HUF 250,000. Its natural habitat is the sandy grasslands between the Danube and the Tisza. Today, its stocks and number of individuals have greatly decreased.

The purpose of the LIFE application launched in 2006 was to map the natural habitats of the plant and the number of roots living there, to create habitats suitable for it, to help the spread of invasive plant species by suppressing them, and to support the survival of the natural population by planting ex situ propagated plants. The tender involved three project areas: Csévharaszt (Danube-Ipoly National Park), Bodoglár and Bócsa (Kiskunság National Park).

As part of the tender, the SZTE Botanic Garden undertook to propagate 15,000 plants ex situ from seeds collected from natural stands and replant them in the designated areas.

The work was carried out as part of the LIFE-Nature project (LIFE06 NAT/H/000104) entitled "Protection of the Pannonian perennial carnation" and was successfully completed at the end of 2011.

more details:

Németh, A; Makra, O. (2011): Ex situ protection of the perennial carnation (Dianthus diutinus) - case study - in: Gy. Verő (ed.): Nature conservation and research on the sand ridge between the Danube and Tisza, Rosalia volume 6, Duna-Ipoly National Park Directorate, Budapest 2011, 353-380. (download)

A film was also made about the project, directed by Szabolcs Mosonyi:

Planting and aftercare of loess specialist plant species in the Körös-Maros National Park, 2011-2012

At the request of the Körös-Maros National Park, the SZTE Botanical Garden undertook to collect the propagules (propagation formulas) of 41 species of rare, endangered and/or protected loess plants in the national park area from May 2011 to the fall of 2012 and grow seedlings suitable for planting from them. The grown plants are planted on wastelands under the management of the national park, which are in various stages of regeneration.

The propagules were collected in 2011, and the propagation work took place in 2011-2012. The plants were transplanted to the Kopáncsi steppe area in the fall of 2012. A total of 5,914 seedlings of the following species were planted in 9 locations:Silene otitis), tuberous testicles (Phlomis tuberosa), fat wort (Senecio doria), potted fan grass (Filipendula vulgaris), dirty tendrils (Ajuga laxmannii), small-flowered sedge (Astragalus austriacus), you're a rowdy bunch (Peucedanum alsaticum), desert med (Vinca herbacea) spear pike (Scutellaria hastifolia), big crow bean (Hylotelephium telephium ssp. maximum), St. John's wort (Senecio jacobaea), common poison ivy (Vincetoxicum hirundinaria), sickle gamandor (Teucrium chamaedrys), cylindrical rim (Inula germanica), hooded violet (Viola ambigua), lettuce squash (Ranunculus ficaria), mountain flax (Linum austriacum), rabbit fur (Ornithogalum brevistylum), straight nipple (Potentilla recta), Austrian sage (Salvia austriaca), gór foam carnation (Silene bupleuroides), dwarf almond (Amygdalus nana) etc.

The work was carried out as part of the KEOP-3.1.2/2F/09-2009-0013 tender for the planting and aftercare of Löszgyep specialist plant species on the given topographical numbers.

Its detailed description can be found in the following article:

Reproductive biology and ex situ propagation methodological studies of the highly protected woolly sedge (Astragalus dasyanthus Pall.) in its natural stands, or with seeds collected from them, 2017-2018

The woolly szüdgrass in closed and open sand or a rare, highly protected butterfly-flowered plant found in loess meadows. Its rarity justified the reproductive biology study of a natural population.

The tests were carried out in sedge populations living in three sandy habitats of the Kiskunság National Park with different microclimatic and relief conditions (near Pirtó, Kisszállás, Bócsa), with a total of 145 individuals. During selection, we tried to randomly select individuals representing all stages of development (in a vegetative state, in bloom, with a few shoots, very vigorous, abundantly blooming, etc.).

Sampling was done once a week from the flower bud stage until flowering. The vitality of the individuals, the number of flower shoots on the stems, the number of inflorescences on the heads of the shoots, or the duration of flowering and the success of fruit setting were recorded. We also performed pollen viability tests by collecting anthers from the flowers. We also recorded predators damaging plants and flowers in the field.

Our results show that the flowering peak occurred at different times in the three areas. It was first in Pirtó (3rd week of May), then in Bócsá and finally in Kisszállás. Then, individuals 80-90% flowered and began fruit ripening, with a similar one-week shift observed in the three areas. The average number of inflorescences was the highest in the Bócsa stand, slightly less in the Pirtó stand, while the small stand was remarkably low.

Harvesting of ripe fruits and seeds began at the end of June. We found significant differences between the sample areas in terms of the number of flowers per inflorescence and the success of fruit set. In Bócsá, an inflorescence had an average of 14 flowers, while in Pirtó and Kisszállás, an inflorescence usually had 10-11 flowers. In Bócsán - despite the greater number of inflorescences and decorativeness, as well as the later blooming - we experienced significantly less fruit set. The small-house population compensated for the lower average number of inflorescences by producing more seed initiation per flower, from which viable seeds were formed with 601 TP3T success. On the other hand, in the Bócsa population with a large number of individuals, significantly fewer seed initiations were formed in the flowers, and viable seeds were produced in a significantly smaller proportion (30%).

There was a significant difference in pollen production between collection times and sample areas, but pollen viability is probably not a limiting factor in the reproductive success of the species.

Despite the large amount of flower production, we observed very weak fruit setting in all three populations.

The germination capacity of the seeds collected in the field was tested with a sowing experiment. Sowing was carried out in a light chamber, the seeds were scarified beforehand. The seeds from the three areas were sown in separate seed trays. In the light chamber, the seeds are approx. After 4 days, they began to germinate. The propagated plants were handed over to the employees of the Kiskunság National Park and they were resettled according to their place of origin.

Restoration of loess meadows in the Körös-Maros National Park
by propagating and planting character/specialist plant species, 2017-2021

The currently ongoing project can be considered a continuation of the joint work with the Körös-Maros National Park, which was successfully concluded in 2012 (as confirmed by the annual condition assessment), with an expanded species list and the inclusion of new areas. A new loess lawn rehabilitation project launched by the Körös-Maros National Park in 2017 aims at the propagation and replanting of rare, endangered and/or protected plant species characteristic of loess lawns on wastelands in various stages of regrassing in the administrative area of the national park. The project "Restoration of Löszpuszta grasslands in the Körös-Maros National Park by propagating and planting character/specialist plant species" c. It is implemented in the framework of tender KEHOP-4.1.0-15-2016-00040.

As part of the commission, the SZTE Botanical Garden undertook the field collection of propagules (propagation formulas) of 83 loess grassland plant species. Some of the collected propagules are distributed by seed scattering in the areas designated for regeneration, in the case of other species, individuals suitable for planting are raised (ex situ propagation) and the seedlings are planted in the designated areas in a predetermined network. The work is taking place in several phases and will be completed in 2021.

Species affected by seed sowing: eaves onion (Allium rotundum), bladderwort (Astragalus chickpea), peppercorn (Clinopodium vulgare), Hungarian carnation (Dianthus pontederae), meadowsweet (Knautia arvensis), mountain flax (Linum austriacum), rabbit fur (Ornithogalum brevistylum), Austrian sage (Salvia austriaca), grove sage (Salvia nemorosa), Austrian oxtail (Verbascum chaixii subsp. austriacum) etc.

Ex situ propagated species: spring herring (Adonis vernalis), crimson onion (Allium atropurpureum), eaves onion (Allium rotundum), common asparagus (Asparagus officinalis), prickly imola (Centaurea scabiosa subsp. spinulosa), stone-seeded pearl millet (Lithospermum officinale), ram's vine-shaped veronica (Pseudolysimachion orchid), wild rose (Rosa gallica), small seed flower (Sternbergia colchiciflora), late dandelion (Taraxacum serotinum), variable gurgling (Seselian variety) etc.

Details in brief:

The job 2017started with field collection and cleaning of propagating materials (seeds, vegetative parts). After that, in the fall and spring of 2018, the seed box sowings that established the resettlement started.

THE 2018The seedling cultivation began in the year , which was carried out in the SZTE Botanical Garden, i.e. ex situ (away from its natural habitat). Field seed collection, cleaning and preparation of seeds for sowing continued during the growing season.

For the first transplanting and field sowing 2018 took place in autumn. We planted 9,867 individuals of 46 plant species in three areas of the national park (Kígyósi puszta, Csanádi puszta, Kardoskúti puszta), on five selected fallows, in pre-planned planting nets. We used two methods for seeding. Some of the seeds were sown according to a pre-planned network, so that a certain number of seeds of a plant species were placed in each grid point. The other part of the seeds was poured together and the resulting seed mixture was spread along a line. In total, seeds of 30 species took part in seed sowing and seed scattering.

THE 2019In the year , the work continued with the collection of propagules that were still missing. From a part of the collected propagating materials (seeds, vegetative parts), we raised seedlings again, and after cleaning and sorting, most of the seeds were prepared for sowing and seed scattering. In the case of 65 plant species, the usable amount and quality of propagating material was collected.

In the autumn, resettlement was carried out in six wasteland areas in different stages of regeneration. We planted a total of 11,082 seedlings, according to the planned grid network, in the areas of the Montág Puszta, the Kardoskúti Puszta and the Kígyósi Puszta. Seed sowing and seed scattering took place at three locations, for which more than 80,000 seeds were used.

THE 2020-In the year 2011, which is the last year of the project, covering the entire vegetation period, the goal was to implement commitments that had not yet been fulfilled in the application. We included 33 species in seed collection. After the successful ex situ propagation, in October-November, we planted 70 species, a total of 10,399 individuals, on 6 regenerating fallows in the two large territorial units of the Körös-Maros National Park, the Kígyósi Puszta and the Királyhegyesi Puszta. During seed sowing and seed scattering, we distributed a total of more than 130,000 seeds to the three areas of the Királyhegyes steppe and the Kígyósi steppe. The weather was also kind to us, because the previous rains sufficiently soaked the soil, making it easier to plant the seedlings and helping them to take root successfully.

The last planting in the Tompapuszta area will take place in 2021, and the project will conclude with this. However, we plan to follow up and monitor the work done every year, to see how successfully the transplanted plants survive and reproduce.

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