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Results tagged “june-06”

Jun 6, 2013: Cupressus bakeri

Baker cypress (or Modoc cypress or Siskiyou cypress) is one of the rarest conifer species in North America, limited to more or less nine localities in southwest Oregon and northern California. Today's photographs were taken last week at the northernmost site for the species, Oregon's Flounce Rock (actually, the northernmost site for naturally-occurring Cupressus in North America). A photographer colleague and I were accompanied to the site by local botanist and plant-hunter extraordinaire, Frank Callahan.

This "Flounce Rock Grove" has been known since at least 1926, but it took another 27 years before the trees were identified as cypresses in 1953. Originally, they were thought to be junipers. The population at this grove is ca. 1000 individuals, give or take a few hundred, in a space of 0.8ha (2 acres). Some of the largest trees were felled by high winds, likely related to an adjacent clearcut and consequent loss of buffering capacity.

I should note that I'm not entirely certain whether Cupressus bakeri is the currently-accepted name; it is by some, whereas others (like the new Jepson Manual: Vascular Plants of California) use Hesperocyparis bakeri. The Gymnosperm Database summarizes the 21st-century papers on the subject of whether (most) North American Cupressus species should be separated out into Hesperocyparis. I decided to use Cupressus bakeri until the dust settles on the debate.

Additional photographs of Cupressus bakeri are available via Calphotos: Cupressus bakeri, including this 2009 photograph of the same group of trees as today's first photograph.

Jun 6, 2011: Hydnophytum moseleyanum

Hydnophytum moseleyanum

Today's entry was written by Alexis:

BlueRidgeKitties@Flickr took this photo in January of an ant plant cultivated in North Carolina, USA. Thanks for sharing!

The term myrmecophyte, from the Greek myrmeco meaning "ant" and phyto ("plant"), refers to any species of plant having a symbiotic relationship with ants. Hydnophytum is one such genus that fits into this category of so-called ant-plants. Hydnophytum moseleyanum is an epiphyte native to lowland forests of Indomalaysia. The caudex or thickened stem of these plants (a cross-section of one is pictured) is full of cavities that ants can access from the outside via small holes; the caudex provides a protective habitat for the ant colony (a myrmecodomatium), sheltering the ants from predators and the elements. In return, the ants contribute nutrients to the plant through their waste deposits; the cavities within the caudex have glands especially for soaking up these nutrients. Additionally, the ants may also protect the plants from herbivores (PDF) like snails and slugs. Some Hydnophytum species are also host to fungi, which can grow on the cavity surfaces (and possibly the reason for the name of the genus, meaning fungus-plant (hydnum = "fungus").

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