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Microenvironmental Role of a Secreted Aqueous Solution in the Afro-Alpine Plant Lobelia keniensis

Truman P. Young and Susan Van Orden Robe
Biotropica
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Sep., 1986), pp. 267-269
DOI: 10.2307/2388496
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2388496
Page Count: 3
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Microenvironmental Role of a Secreted Aqueous Solution in the Afro-Alpine Plant Lobelia keniensis
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Abstract

Lobelia keniensis, a giant rosette plant endemic to the alpine zone of Mount Kenya, secretes a solution of water and a mucilaginous substance. This solution forms a reservoir of up to 3 liters between the closely appressed leaf bases of the rosette. Experiments reported here show that rosettes drained of this liquid experienced bud temperatures well below freezing, whereas control rosettes never experienced bud temperatures below freezing. The presence of the reservoir did not affect the rate of leaf warming in the morning. The mucilaginous substance was identified as a pectin, which probably reduces evaporation from the reservoir without lowering the freezing temperature of the water.

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