Field of Science

Calling all plant phanatics

As lone time readers may have noticed, this blog has no ads and makes no endorsements, unless TPP has been handsomely rewarded, which he hasn't, so you may also conclude how much impact the 623,884th ranked webpage has commercially, essentially none. However as a service to fellow plant lovers, and if any one factor can describe the diverse readers of this blog that may be it, other than my kid sister who just likes to check up on me.  So here's a link to Strange Wonderful Things, a purveyor of rare and unusual plants, but not having done any business here, this is simply an information item, not an endorsement.  Perhaps if a reader has purchased something, they will supply a comment about their satisfaction or lack thereof. The list of what's available is pretty unimpressive, but the list of everything they supposedly grow is a lot of fun to peruse. A couple of the descriptions are sort of amusing and include culture information. The listing for Amborella trichopoda caught TPP's eye touted as the oldest flowering plant species on Earth. This in all likelihood is not true but a misunderstanding about the uniqueness of this species. This is an upland evergreen tropical shrub/small tree that only grows on New Caledonia, a very old, very isolated piece of real estate that used to be part of Gondwana. So rare and uncommon, oh, yes. This species also has a very unique phylogenetic position; it has the most ancient common ancestry with all other flowering plants. So if your draw an evolutionary tree of flowering plants the bottom most branch is a single species. Now what this means is that this evolutionary event happened at the dawn of flowering plants, and one lineage flourished and gave rise to all other flowering plants, and one lineage did not flourish and is now represented by a single species. It does not mean this species existed when that evolutionary event occurred. Sorry. It's like Gingko in that regard; a single species has survived of what was a very diverse lineage but that species is not as old as the lineage is. It does mean that this species may have retained a lot of features with the common ancestor of all flowering plants. Does TPP want this plant?  Oh, yes, very much! He already has representatives of the other two basal branches of the flowering plant evolutionary tree: water lilies and star anise (Illicium), so it would be nice to complete the set. 

No comments: