Ecology

Associations

Foodplant / internal feeder
larva of Cerodontha geniculata feeds within stem? of Eriophorum

Foodplant / saprobe
immersed, linearly arranged pseudothecium of Mycosphaerella lineolata is saprobic on dead leaf of Eriophorum
Other: minor host/prey

Foodplant / feeds on
larva of Plateumaris discolor feeds on rhizome of Eriophorum

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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Plant poison neutralizes digestive juices: cotton grass
 

The poison produced by cotton grass protects them from lemmings by neutralizing digestive juices, leading to lemming starvation.

   
  "The ability to produce poison may be the cause of one of the most celebrated, almost mythic, events in natural history - the mass suicide of the Norway lemming. These little hamster-like rodents of the Arctic tundra increase in numbers year after year until there is a population explosion, and then hordes of them are said to deliberately drown themselves.

"The cause of this extraordinary behaviour may be the fact, recently discovered, that when lemmings start to feed on the cotton grass and sedges that are their main food, the plants begin to produce a poison which neutralises the lemmings' digestive juices. If the grazing is light, the plants stop doing this after about 30 hours, but if it is intense, as it is when the lemming population reaches its climax, they do so continuously. The effect on the lemmings is not only that they cannot digest their meals. Because they cannot, their bodies produce more and more digestive fluids, draining their physical resources and bringing them even closer to starvation. As a consequence, the more they eat the hungrier they get, and when having stripped the surrounding tundra they reach the edge of the sea or a lake, they swim out into it, in a frenzied attempt to find some food somewhere that will sustain them." (Attenborough 1995:72)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Attenborough, D. 1995. The Private Life of Plants: A Natural History of Plant Behavior. London: BBC Books. 320 p.
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© The Biomimicry Institute

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:182Public Records:86
Specimens with Sequences:114Public Species:11
Specimens with Barcodes:112Public BINs:0
Species:15         
Species With Barcodes:14         
          
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Barcode data

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Eriophorum

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© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Wikipedia

Eriophorum

Eriophorum (cottongrass, cotton-grass or cottonsedge) is a genus of about 25 species of flowering plants in the family Cyperaceae, the sedge family. They are found throughout the temperate Northern Hemisphere in acid bog habitats, being particularly abundant in Arctic tundra regions.[2][3]

They are herbaceous perennial plants with slender, grass-like leaves. The seed heads are covered in a fluffy mass of cotton which are carried on the wind to aid dispersal. In cold Arctic regions, these masses of translucent fibres also serve as 'down' – increasing the temperature of the reproductive organs during the Arctic summer by trapping solar radiation.[4]

Selected species[edit]

The following species are included:[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Eriophorum L., Sp. Pl.: 52 (1753)". eMonocot. Retrieved May 10, 2013. 
  2. ^ Ball, Peter W. & Daniel E. Wujek (2002). Eriophorum Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 1: 52. 1753; Gen. Pl. ed. 5, 27. 1754. In Flora of North America Editorial Committee. "Cyperaceae". Flora of North America North of Mexico 23 (Oxford University Press). pp. 21–27. ISBN 978-0-19-515207-4. 
  3. ^ Flora Europaea: Eriophorum
  4. ^ Crawford, R. M. M. (1989). Studies in Plant Survival. Blackwell Science. pp. 54–55. 


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