Self-destructive palm

Discussion in 'Celebrate Biodiversity' started by 1950Greg, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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  2. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Re: Self-destructive plam

    Here's a question maybe someone can answer ...

    If the palm tree was just found or discovered, how do they know it only flowers once every so many years? I can guess about them estimating age from size, etc..

    How would they know a 100 year old tree had never flowered at 50 years, and again at 100 years? Is that just the way it goes with the bloom and doom type plants: one time and its out? The article text was a bit light for me to read, so maybe I missed the answer there.
     
  3. thanrose

    thanrose Active Member 10 Years

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    M. D.,

    I'd imagine anecdotal evidence is how they determine the life cycle of the palm. There is a tribe nearby. Undiscovered means not botanically recognized or published prior to this naming and collection. The fact that it's classed with other palms in Chuniophoeniceae gives them some other palms to confirm the life cycle.

    They describe the inflorescence and fruiting to be so massive that it drains the palm's resources, and the photo shows a many branched plume going straight up. Up close and personal, it's possible that the inflorescence capitates the palm, not allowing for additional foliage. We know that if you cut out the terminal bud on many palms, it will die in time because no new foliage can grow.

    Fascinating stuff. With a palmate frond five meters wide, you'd think some botanist would have come across it before. But Madagascar is full of species yet to be described.
     
  4. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    New to science, but likely well known to the local villagers, they would be able to tell the researchers about its growth pattern.

    That just depends on the imagery resolution! Where it is high, even small individual trees can be seen clearly.
     
  5. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    It's very interesting and also confusing from an evolutionary point of view as to what kind of survival advantage does it give to a plant to only flower and produce seeds once every fifty years?
     
  6. maf

    maf Generous Contributor Maple Society 10 Years

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    It might be a tactic to avoid predation of the seeds or young plants. Instead of feeding the pests the same amount every year, after 50 years it produces more than the local population of predators could possibly eat, in theory ensuring the survival of some.
     
  7. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I don't subscribe to much evolution.

    But either way, maybe there are benefits to other plants or animals when a plant like that dies almost right away. So that it gives an advantage, rather than taking an advantage.
     
  8. K Baron

    K Baron Well-Known Member

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    Plants evolve as do we.... thank goodness for the betterment of all!

    Now if plants could communicate to mammals....hmmmmm????
     
  9. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    Maybe evolution is not the right word to use. More to the point would be what competitive advantage is gained by producing seeds every 50 years or so. The viability of the seeds must be high and condition right for this tree to perpetuate itself. One obvious advantage is the enormous leaves that would starves competing plants of sunlight once it got a hold.
     
  10. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Already did that before posting that reply. The gray text on white, for me, seems harder to read than even a green on a green.

    It does seem outstanding that various species like this have still remained undiscovered for so long.
     
  11. 1950Greg

    1950Greg Active Member

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    The tree is only found within less than a kilometer stretch on land.
     
  12. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    Along the west coast, I've only gone to see one plant that had a miniature habitat. Actually, I went to the area to go hiking, and the plant is located there. So I kept an eye out for it. Its Dwarf Wooly Meadow Foam.

    http://www.oregon.gov/ODA/PLANT/CONSERVATION/profile_liflpu.shtml

    And is known to grow only on Upper Table Rock, and Lower Table Rock, between Grants Pass and Medford, Oregon. Rather interesting view from the top, too.

    ~
    ~
     
  13. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Paragon of Plants UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Did you see the plant? What time of year? I don't think I've ever seen a species with a range of < 1 km, though I'm fairly certain I've seen species with ranges <10km (100 square km) (Callitropsis macrocarpa?) and certainly with ranges <100km (10000 square km) (Delphinium viridescens).
     
  14. Michael F

    Michael F Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Cuyamaca Cypress Cupressus stephensonii on the south slopes of Cuyamaca Peak has an even smaller range, well under 1 sq. km
     
  15. M. D. Vaden

    M. D. Vaden Active Member 10 Years

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    I saw the flower in spring time, on Lower Table Rock.

    Found just a thumbnail image, which tells me I had a bigger photo. And probably just one photo. They are in small patches scattered across the top of the table rocks, around little puddles or pools.
     

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