THREATENED by the effects of climate change, a vanishing Benguet flower breed has found a new haven at the Baguio Botanical Garden where it was successfully raised by City Environment and Parks Management Office (Cepmo) personnel for six months.

The flower, Lilium philippinense also known as Benguet lily, has drawn attention to researchers and individuals because of its spectacular appearance having white tubular flower and emits attractive odor which occurs once a year.

However, this plant specie is under threat and on the verge of displacement due to human activities such as land conversion, road construction or widening. The effect of continuous abnormal temperature changes also decreases the population of Benguet lilies. The plant grows best at moderately cool temperature.

Critically disappearing, the Benguet lily is now rarely seen in the city. This prompted the personnel of Cepmo to conduct biodiversity conservation measures through seeds collection and plant production.

Cepmo gardeners started raising the Benguet lilies in pots last January using minimal agricultural inputs. Frequent watering is also applied.

Ceasar Gamueda, Cepmo personnel, said that the raised Benguet lilies are now blooming and being cared at the City Flower Nursery within the Botanical Park.

With the success of the conservation effort, Cepmo aimed to produce more lilies for distribution to various parks of the city and to groups or barangays.

Aside from Benguet lilies, the Cepmo also planned to raise vanishing native flowers such as pitcher plant in its quest to biodiversity conservation.

According to a joint-study conducted by University of the Philippines (UP)-Baguio, UP-Diliman, and UP- Los Banios, the natural population of Benguet lily is critically disappearing and these require immediate conservation strategies before they become extinct.

"With the increasing threats on Benguet lilies and its narrow distribution, Conservation strategies are necessary," the study said.

To date, the abundance of Benguet lilies are only seen in the high altitude of the central Cordillera mountain ranges. (Danny Killip)