New palm tree species found in Madagascar

Discussion in 'Plants: In the News' started by LabTea, Jan 17, 2008.

  1. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Labrador City Canada
    Wow! A new species of palm was found in Madagascar that flowers once every 100 years and dies shortly afterward. Only 100 are thought to exist. Palm lovers may want to google this!
     
  2. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,697
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
  3. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    ROME Italy zone9/b
    the world have one chance again!!!good news
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,697
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Not a very optimistic chance - with under 100 trees, and if they live 100 years before flowering, that means on average, less than one palm flowering each year. As palms are usually dioecious, the chances of an individual getting pollinated and producing viable fruit are going to be very low now. If it does happen, someone is going to have to be on hand to collect the ripe fruit, and sow the lot for local outplanting.

    They'll probably even have to collect pollen from flowering males for storage until a female plant flowers, and do some deliberate cross-pollinating (this should be feasible, it is done a lot in commercial Date Palm orchards to increase fruit production).

    Without some serious assistance, this species will be extinct in short order.
     
  5. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Labrador City Canada
    Wow Michael. You sure managed to pick that one apart. Something I wouldn't have thought of is the palm being dioecious. This definitely decreases the chances of the palm surviving because of the males and females having to flower the same year. I'm surprised with such a poor reproductive strategy that the palm has managed to survive this long. Interesting point of view Michael.
     
  6. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Labrador City Canada
  7. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,697
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    That certainly makes things a bit better, but I'd still guess it'll be rated Critically Endangered.

    Even if monoecious, it'll still need to outcross to produce a good seed yield; selfed seed is unlikely to do well.

    It is a perfectly good survival strategy in natural conditions when it is present in good numbers over a good area - the problem is that man has destroyed ~95% of the moist forest in Madagascar, and its reproductive strategy is very vulnerable to low population effects.
     
  8. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    19,796
    Likes Received:
    195
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    That's why the last stand is right next to a plantation.
     
  9. alex66

    alex66 Well-Known Member Maple Society 10 Years

    Messages:
    1,959
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    ROME Italy zone9/b
    what can we do?
     
  10. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

    Messages:
    19,796
    Likes Received:
    195
    Location:
    WA USA (Z8)
    Meanwhile perhaps dozens of other species will die out forever today. This is but one example, that is in the spotlight (and still extant). As long as economics remain the dominant basis for decision making, and economic opportunity is severely unequal in its availability forests will continue to vanish.
     
  11. LabTea

    LabTea Active Member

    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Labrador City Canada
    Yes the classic case of economy vs. ecology. If 95% of forests are gone in Madagascar I would imagine a number of other species are at risk or even made extinct. As far as giving this tree a fighting chance, I guess they plan on selling some of the seeds from this palm to botanical gardens throughout the world to increase numbers. Maybe UBC Botanical Gardens will end up with some. Its worth looking into anyway.
     
  12. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

    Messages:
    10,697
    Likes Received:
    150
    Location:
    Britain zone 8/9
    Probably the best one could do in this instance is (if one has resources available for it!) to donate money to organisations buying land in Madagascar for restoration to native vegetation. That's assuming that there are any organisations working on this! If there's a choice of organisations, look for ones which employ local Malagasay people directly in their work, so that the local people benefit from conservation.
     

Share This Page