Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Plant Quiz Answered; Selaginella eclipes!

With the botany sharks that circle this site, it is difficult for a quiz to last long.

Scott is correct. This is Selaginella eclipes. Evidently there is still debate as to whether this species is distinct from S. apoda. I am going with S. eclipes based on the lanceolate leaves of the upper stem surface and their long acuminate tips. I have read that the soil acidity is variable, but FNA does say it is from calcareous habitats.

FNA mentions that there is debate as to the validity of this taxon being a distinct species but then says "It is recognized here at the specific level to highlight the problems within this species complex". Wow! A breath of responsible taxonomy. Too bad they are not consistent in this philosophy.

5 comments:

Scott said...

Lindsay has recommended that we initiate a rule that no one can answer a quiz until it's been posted for more than 24 hours. Not a bad idea.

I'm a big fan of Selaginella. How often is that one overlooked as a moss??

Keith said...

Do you guys ever see Selaginella rupestris on dry sandstone in the Ozarks? I saw it once on a dry, sunny slope in the Indiana Dunes. It wasn't really my discovery though. It was a relocation of someone's earlier discovery. If I can find a slide I'll scan and post it.
Re: Scott's moss question, I sometimes see a true moss in fens that looks a lot like the spikemoss S. apoda until you look close. Anybody know what moss that is? Thanks.

Scott said...

Hey Keith. I've seen exactly the moss you're talking about. I wonder if it's Mnium cuspidatum.

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Justin said...

We do see Selaginella rupestris on sandstone glades and outcrops here in the Ozarks. It isn't very common, though.

The moss you describe does sound like Mnium cuspidatum or a similar species. I have also seen some leafy liverworts, like the genus Porella, with a similar growth form. I love convergent evolution!