Cryptozoology, BioForteana, and Remarkable Species
Monday, February 22, 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009
Thursday, December 03, 2009
New Texas Plant
Sunday, November 29, 2009
The smallest orchid in the world has been discovered in Ecuador, nestled in the roots of a larger plant.
"The plant is just 2.1mm wide, and instantly supercedes the species Platystele jungermannioides as the world's smallest orchid. The petals are so thin that they are just one cell thick and transparent." (News source.)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Rat-Eating Pitcher Plant
Friday, July 03, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Flora Curiosa: Cryptobotanical Fiction
For those interested in literary cryptobotany, I've put together an anthology (Flora Curiosa) of 20 classic short stories involving all sorts of strange plants and fungi in science fiction and fantasy. An additional story by Louisa May Alcott that I came across too late for this collection was included in my anthology of Egyptian-themed sff stories, Out of the Sand.
Also, I've put together a two-novel collection, Pym, that includes Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, in which you'll find Poe's zoological speculation on the fauna of the Antarctic (at that point unexplored).
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
New Pitcher Plant
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Endangered Trees in India
Friday, October 05, 2007
Turns out cycads aren't so primitive in their reproductive process. They utilize a "push-pull pollination cycle" that first forces pollen-laden thrips out of their male cones with toxic levels of chemicals, creating noxious odors, which the female cones then attempt to lure in with their own fragrant smells. (News source.)
Friday, February 09, 2007
Papua New Guidea Orchids
COMPILED BY ROHINI RAMAKRISHNAN
Scientists from the conservation non-profit WWF discovered at least eight other new species of orchid, in the tropical rain forests of Papua New Guinea. The researchers made the discoveries while surveying previously unexplored forests in the Kikori region on the southern coast of New Guinea's principal island.
Over the course of three expeditions, the scientists collected some 300 orchid species, eight of which have been confirmed as new to science, with 20 more still awaiting verification as new varieties. Even before the find, Papua New Guinea claimed more known orchid species than any other country in the world.
"The island of New Guinea is an incredible gold mine of orchids," said Wayne Harris, a WWF researcher and botanist with Australia's Queensland Herbarium. "There are over 3,000 known species found here with countless varieties undoubtedly yet to be discovered."
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
Seeds of 2006 Discovery to Live On
Scientists in West Sussex are working to preserve the seeds of a rare Chinese plant rediscovered after 100 years.
Chinese seed collectors found the small, yellow-flowered paraisometrum mileense growing in Yunnan Province in South West China.
Its seeds will now be preserved for conservation and research at the Millennium Seek Bank at Kew's country garden, Wakehurst Place at Ardingly.
Botanists are investigating its evolution so it is never lost again.
A living collection of the plant, which was last found growing in its native habitat in 1906, is also being introduced into a botanic garden in China.
Experts feared it had died out.
"It is greatly encouraging for botanists and conservationists to rediscover a species thought to be extinct in the wild," said Jie Cai, co-ordinator of the Chinese seed collection at Wakehurst.
"It provides an important opportunity for people to find out more about the plant's evolution, conservation and potential uses."
Please note, while the news article does not explain the date of rediscovery, it is not 2007. The plant was found in 2006, but the conservation of its seeds should help assure it stays in existence for a while longer. - Craig Heinselman
Local botanist discovers new species in Peru
Local botanist discovers new species in Peru
By Alison Damas tStaff Writer
By Alison Damas tStaff Writer
Published February 6 2007
STAMFORD - Botanist Eric Morgan was in a boat traveling down the Orosa River in Peru last January when a felled tree trunk in the water halted his journey.Morgan and fellow botanist Jon Sperling decided to get out of the boat and explore while they waited for help. They spent the next hour-and-a-half gathering plants along the edge of the tributary, including one in the genus Dracontium, commonly known as Jergon Sacha.
They noticed it had several striking characteristics, including an unusual leaf segment pattern, with large and small leaves opposite each other."We were looking at it from the side of a boat and said, 'This looks kind of different. Let's take it back to New York,' " said Morgan, collections manager at the Bartlett Arboretum & Gardens in Stamford.
In America, the pair grew the plant under greenhouse conditions for 18 months and realized they had found a new species. They named it Dracontium iquitense, after the city of Iquitos in northeastern Peru, the closest large city to where they discovered it.
This summer, Morgan and Sperling, a biology professor at Queens College in New York, will publish a paper on the new species in Aroideana, a yearly academic journal devoted to the study of plants that belong to the Aracae family.One of the plants now grows in the greenhouse of the Bartlett Arboretum, where Morgan is studying it and monitoring its growth.
The plant has grown a stem with leaves that is about 2 feet tall and has not flowered. In the spring, Morgan expects the plant will stand 8 feet tall."It's not all that impressive in the middle of winter," he said.The plant has drawn the attention of Jack Dillon, Bartlett's executive director, who said he is impressed that Morgan picked out a new species in the middle of a rainforest.
"I think people like to say there is nothing new under the sun, and I think it is nice to have that proven wrong every now and then," Dillon said.Morgan, who is pursing a doctorate degree in botany at City University of New York, has long been fascinated by Jergon Sacha. He learned about it when he was an undergraduate at Stony Brook University and watched a video on plants belonging to the genus Dracontium.
He was intrigued when he learned the flower smelled like rotting meat and set out to learn more about the plant, including its medicinal properties."I just thought it was interesting from an evolutionary standpoint," Morgan said. "The plants tend to have different pollinators and tend to tailor their scents to different insect groups."There are 23 known species of the plant; 13 of them grow in South America and the Caribbean.
Morgan took his first trip to the Iquitos region of Peru in 2002 and interviewed residents about how they use the plant in everyday life, eventually publishing a paper on the topic in Aroideana."In rural areas, people lash the stems against their legs to prevent snake bites. Tribes that have more contact with modern medicine take the root, known as a corm, and crush it for use as a topical remedy for snake bites, Morgan said.
Pharmacists in large cities sell the crushed root in bottles and claim that it can cure HIV and cancer."It was neat to see how the use of it changed as you went from rural areas with little contact with the medicine world to big cities," he said.
Morgan plans to continue his study of the plant, preserving samples in formaldehyde and alcohol.He remains modest about his discovery and attributes it to the years he spent studying the evolution and structure of the plant."You end up looking at so many of them that you know them pretty well," he said.
Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Granfer's Apple is its name, an apple that grows on a 200 (+) year old tree in Beaminster, Dorset.
Grandmother Diana Toms, 83, brought an apple recently to an event run by the Symondsbury Apple Project in Dorset to get some advise on caring for the old tree. Yet, the pomologists were unable to identify the apple... including experts from the National Fruit Collection (NFC).
The apple has been called the Granfer's Apple as long as Grandma Toms can remember. Her grandfather, born in 1860, always called it that in an shortend form of "Grandfather's Apple". The actual tree is thought to have been planted by Grandma Tom's great-great-great-grandfather Isaac Bugler cicrca 1800.
The difference in the apple appears to be the basic shape, stalk length and closed eye. With a sharp and crisp taste to it...... New style apple pie anyone???
Pomology is the branch of botany that studies and cultivates fruits, the best folks to identify an apple....
New type of apple, or forgotten one?See the entire story at The Daily Mail