The Weekly Botanical is a compilation of my favorite plant-related news from the week:
A corpse plant (Amorphophallus titanum) is in bloom at Cornell University. They have a live webcam focused on the inflorescence. Checking in on it for the last few days I have watched it open, as well as the swarms of visitors it’s been receiving. The hours Cornell will have it’s greenhouse open to the public is posted on the site, while the days it is in full bloom the visiting hours will stay open until 11 pm. The corpse plant is called such because it emits a naueseating scent when fully opened in order to attract it’s pollinator, carrion flys. It is one of the largest inflorescence in the world, and it is a rare occasion when there is one blooming in the United States. The plants are native to Indonesia, where their habitat is diminishing.
Unique plant hitched ride with traveler to Meridian is an interesting article about the findings of the new floral survey of Lauderdale County, Mississippi. The state of Mississippi lacks a guide to the flora of the state, a good reason for a group of four students at Mississippi State University to spend 5 years gathering floral data of the county. The new 1,175 species flora includes the discovery of 186 introduced species to the county, 47 rare Mississippi species and a species of sedge (Carex breviculmis) that had yet to be recorded in North America. The sedge is Eurasian, and was found near a grave site of a women referred to as the Gypsy Queen, seeing a correlation between the origins of the women and the sedge, Lucas Majure-a team member of the project-believes, “The people who visited her grave for the funeral and afterwards may have unintentionally brought the sedge seed in clothes or on flowers.” Seeds can stick to articles of clothing, bags, and especially in the dirt caked in the crevices of shoes traveling with an unknowing host. If in the right place when it falls loose, the seed can germinate and establish itself. Not only another step in the right direction for the botany of Mississippi, but an eye-opener of how species can be introduced. For the complete floral inventory.
A new place for native plant landscaping is outside gradeschools. Being planted by highschool clubs, or elementary projects, the process is introducing the importance native plants have ecologically while teaching planting techniques and the joy of gardening. A native plant arboretum can supply a learning space that houses numerous tools for the classroom, as well as being an endless project.
A conservation success story, the Nature Conservancy of Canada has just purchased a 1,205-acre portion of Manitoulin Island. The Lake Huron island is the largest freshwater island in the world. The property purchased from Dr. Ron Tasker is a unique piece of land and, “hosts a range of habitats including sand dunes, alvars, wetlands, forests and beaches that are home to many rare species.”, SooToday states. Tasker has owned the property since the 1960′s and has strived to preserve it since.
Petunias have shed light on the symbiosis between plants and fungi. It has been known for some time that this symbiosis is an important component to plants success on land. New research at the University of Zurich has found a transport protein, leading to a better understanding of this relationship. Science Daily reported on the study earlier this week.