1 Tahrcountry Musings: A plant that "bends down" to deposit its seeds

Friday, September 23, 2011

A plant that "bends down" to deposit its seeds

A new plant that "bends down" to deposit its seeds Spigelia  genuflexa  (Loganiaceae),  has been discovered in the Atlantic forest in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil. It is the first reported geocarpic species in the family.
After fruits are formed, the fruiting branches bend down and deposit the capsules of seeds on the ground. What is surprising is that sometimes the plant buries the seeds in the soft cover of moss.
The species is a short-lived annual. It is restricted to sandy-soil habitat with variable and heterogeneous microenvironment and is found only in two restricted localities.
The authors say a phylogenetic parsimony and Bayesian analysis of ITS sequences from 15 Spigelia species plus 17 outgroups in Loganiaceae confirms its independent taxonomic status: on the basis of sequence similarity and phylogenetic topology it is phylogenetically distinct from all Spigelia species sequenced so far.

Journal reference

Spigelia genuflexa (Loganiaceae), a new geocarpic species from northeastern Bahia, Brazil

Alex Popovkin, Katherine G. Mathews, José Carlos Mendes Santos, M. Carmen Molina, Lena Struwe

PhytoKeys 6 (2011): 47-65

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