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Common NameEdit


Scientific NameEdit

Acucondylus bulbus


This spinewhip is interesting. Some specimens have a single stem - much like most plants - while others have multiple contact points with the ground. We see this in some species on Earth - like blackberries - but there it's usually a way to quickly spread along the landscape. The compactness of the organism's footprint suggests a different reason. There are also round growths - I'm calling them bulbos - which may be photosynthetic tissue, or parasites, or some sort of reproductive organ. I'll have to do more research. One reassuringly familiar thing is similar adaptations for a low-water environment. I'm confident hypothesing that the compact stems and lack of large or dissected leaves helps this photobiont minimize water loss. And the spines - if they are spines - are a reassuringly familiar way to discourage herbivory in a habitat where new tissue is difficult to produce. Examples of coevolution are oddly comforting. (Of course, my observations about herbivory would be a lot more reliable if we saw an actual herbivore grazing on this - or avoiding it for a less difficult plant. Can't have everything, I guess.) --Jane Van Susteren, Exobiology Lead

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