Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - not so large, not what you think

Here's a tropical plant from Thailand and TPP knows what you are thinking.  What a cute little snapdragon!
Cute and little (about 5 mm long), yes, but not a snapdragon, although it was long so classified. Of course molecular data has resulted in the complete disintegration of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) to the point where TPP had to engage students in the massive effort to refile a dozens of genera in our herbarium, and now some things will prove hard to find without consulting a guide post or an alphabetized list of genera that will point you to the "correct" family.  At any rate, TPP found this plant growing in brick walls of old temples, basically weathered laterite clay. And both morphological and molecular data places this plant as the basal genus of the Orobanchaceae (broom-rape family), a family of parasitic and hemiparasitic plants.  All of the former Rhinanthoideae subfamily of hemiparasitic snapdragons got shifted to  the Orobanchs.  However, this genus is the only fully autotrophic plant in the family and it has the smallest seeds TPP has ever seen in this group, absolutely dust seed, smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. It grows in our glasshouse quite well.

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