Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Hyobanche robusta

12 October 2010

Hyobanche robusta, originally uploaded by andiwolfe.
One of my last collections from the 2010 field season in South Africa: Hyobanche robusta (Orobanchaceae).

This site was in an urban area near Wilderness, South Africa. A housing development was in an old dune field, and the population was roadside in a housing development.

This is definitely an atypical field site for me for collecting species of Hyobanche. It's somewhat encouraging, though, that any species of Hyobanche can survive in this type of disturbance to its habitat.

The population was in full bloom, and it was pretty large for this kind of site - more than a dozen plants in bloom along the road, up in the shrub zone that lines the sides of the road below the houses.

I don't usually see H. robusta in such prime condition and so I was interested in seeing the size and shape of the stigma.

I think all of the species of Hyobanche are beautiful, but the sheer size and audacity of this species is especially charming.

It's also very photogenic.

The canopy was much more open than what I've seen in a typical dune habitat, although the site where it was growing on Scaevola was totally open.

The added challenge for this site was the concrete slag that was dumped on the hillside, surrounding the plants I wanted to excavate. Bring out the pickaxe! I got a workout for this collection.

After much effort in breaking through concrete, I found a mat of roots growing around the rhizome. Some of these had been tapped by H. robusta.

Ah, yes - the vouchers are safely bagged and awaiting the plant press.

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