Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

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Specimen Records:41
Specimens with Sequences:48
Specimens with Barcodes:45
Species:5
Species With Barcodes:5
Public Records:20
Public Species:5
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Clintonia borealis

Clintonia borealis (commonly Blue-bead lily or Clintonia, also Clinton's Lily, Corn Lily, Cow Tongue, Yellow Beadlily, Yellow Bluebeadlily, Snakeberry, Dogberry, Straw Lily), is a perennial forest plant found in eastern North America. It was once classified within the genus Convallaria.[2]

Description[edit]

Blue-bead lilies are small (5–10 in) perennial plants, usually found in homogeneous colonies. At full growth, a shoot has 2–4 clasping and curved, slightly succulent leaves with parallel venation. The flowers are arranged in small umbels at the extremity of a long stalk. They have 6 stamens and 6 yellow tepals (i.e. very similar sepals and petals). In rare cases more than one umbel is found on a shoot or shoots from a clone. The fruits are small dark blue, lurid berries. A white-berried form (f. albicarpa) also exists.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

The plant reproduces via seed or vegetatively by underground rhizomes. Flowering in May and June, it takes over a dozen years for a clone to establish and produce its first flower, 2 years of which are dedicated solely to germination. The older parts of the rhizome starts to die after approximately 15 years, but new parts continue growing. One colony often covers several hundred square meters. Few specimens establish new colonies.[2]

Distribution[edit]

Clintonia borealis is native to the boreal forest in eastern North America, but is also found in other coniferous or mixed forests and in cool temperate maple forests. It is not found in open spaces, and only grows in the shade.

The species has been collected from the wild in Manitoba, Labrador, Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, Ontario, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Indiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina and Tennessee.[13]

Ecology[edit]

Blue-bead lily is extremely slow to spread, but established clones can usually survive many later modifications, as long as sunlight remains limited. Whereas crossed pollination is more efficient in producing seeds, self-pollination will still produce seeds, allowing the plant to propagate.[2]

Like other slow-growing forest plants, such as Trilliums, Blue-bead lily is extremely sensitive to grazing by White-tailed Deer.

Medicine[edit]

The rhizome contains diosgenin, a saponin steroid with estrogenic effects.

Food[edit]

The young leaves of the plant are edible while still only a few inches tall. The fruit however, is mildly toxic, and is quite unpleasant tasting.

Cultivation[edit]

Culture is difficult, due to the need to avoid direct sunlight and the difficulty posed by germination. Transplanting is not recommended.

Folklore[edit]

Hunters in North Quebec were said to have rubbed their traps with the roots because bears are attracted to its odor.

According to a Mi'kmaq tale, when a grass snake eats a poisonous toad, it slithers in rapid circles around a shoot of blue-bead lily to transfer the poison to the plant.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Plant List
  2. ^ a b c NRCS: USDA Plants Profile: Clintonia borealis
  3. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1832. Atlantic Journal 1(3): 120, Clintonia borealis.
  4. ^ Aiton, William. 1789. Hortus Kewensis 1: 454, pl. 6, with nice illustration, under the name Dracaena borealis
  5. ^ Ker Gawler, John Bellenden. 1811. Botanical Magazine pl. 1155, 1403, as Smilacina borealis
  6. ^ Gleason, H. A. & A.J. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada (ed. 2) i–910. New York Botanical Garden, Bronx.
  7. ^ Scoggan, H. J. 1978 [1979]. Pteridophyta, Gymnospermae, Monocotyledoneae. 2: 93–545. In Flora of Canada. National Museums of Canada, Ottawa.
  8. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1832. Atlantic Journal, and Friend of Knowledge 120, as Clintonia aitonii, Clintonia multiflora
  9. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1937. New Flora and Botany of North America 2.78-88. as Clintonia angustifolia, Clintonia biflora, Clintonia biumbella, Clintonia falcata, Clintonia fulva, Clintonia glomerata, Clintonia latifolia, Clintonia ophioglossoides, Clintonia triflora, Clintonia triflora
  10. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1819. Journal de Physique, de Chimie, d'Histoire Naturelle et des Arts 89: 102 as Clintonia ciliata
  11. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1820. Annals of Nature or Annual Synopsis of New Genera and Species of Animals, Plants, &c. Discovered in North America by C. S. Rafinesque. Lexington p 16 as Clintonia mutans
  12. ^ Rafinesque, Constantine Samuel. 1830. Medical Flora 2:85, as Clintonia nutans
  13. ^ Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families

Lamoureux, Gisèle (2002). Flore printanière. Fleurbec. ISBN 2-920174-15-0. 

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Clintonia

For the Stag Line ship, see SS Clintonia.

Clintonia is a genus of flowering plants first described as a genus in 1818.[3][4] It is distributed across North America and eastern Asia[2] where it is found as an understory plant in woodlands. It was named after De Witt Clinton, an 18th-century botanist and U.S. politician.[5]

Description[edit]

Clintonia species are herbaceous perennials growing from rhizomatous underground stems with thin, fibrous roots. They grow from 1.5 to 8 dm tall. They have 2 to 6 basal leaves arising from the rhizome crown, the basal leaves are sessile and sheathing, and the cauline leaves have a stalk, the blade of the leaves have a prominent central vein and entire margins, and the bottom ends are obovate to oblanceolate in shape. The leaf apex is acute to abruptly short-acuminate, often mucronate (ending abruptly in a short sharp point). The inflorescences are terminal, and the flowers are arranged into short racemes or umbel-like clusters, with 1 to 45 flowers. The flowers have 6 tepals with nectaries present. The stamens are inserted at the base of the perianth, and the anthers are oblong-obovate to oblong-linear shaped. The rounded to cylinder shaped ovary is superior with two chambers (sometime three). Each chamber produces 2 to 10 ovules. The smooth fruits are berry-like, round to egg-shaped, metallic blue to black in color. Four to thirty seeds are produced in each fruit and the seeds are shiny brown, round and the ends are angled with 2 or 3 faces.[6][7]

Species[edit]

accepted species[2][8]

  1. C. andrewsiana - SW Oregon, W California
  2. C. borealis - E Canada, NE USA, Great Lakes, Appalachians
  3. C. udensis - China, Korea, Japan, Myanmar, Himalayas, Russian Far East
  4. C. umbellulata - Appalachians
  5. C. uniflora - western North America from Alaska to California

Cultivation[edit]

Clintonia species are cultivated as garden subjects in shade gardens, grown for the glossy foliage, small lily-like flowers, and blue fruits, and their ability to live in heavy shade. They grow best in cool, organic-rich, acid soils that retain moisture and when grown well form dense slowly spreading clumps.[9]

References[edit]

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