Saturday, September 13, 2008

A small Monophyllaea

There are about thirty plus species of Monophyllaea, or "one-leaf" as it is known in some places. This is a Gesneriad (from African violet family) which has only a single large leaf derived from a cotyledon, the other leaf has been suppressed from growth. The plant is usually found in limestone, with the exception of 2 species, and they usually have large leaves at least 20 cm long.

However at a wet granite rock in West Malaysia, I found this curious species, flowering when it was very small (about 5 cm long). The only species found on non-limestone in this part of the world is M. horsfieldii, according to B. L. Burtt (1978). Could this be a new species or just an aberrant M. horsfieldii ?

9 comments:

kompoStella said...

hello again -
this i really very interesting! i'm not strong on neither hortology nor latin so i had no idea that there was plants such as this One Leaf Only thingy ;-) AND i'm also intrigued by the word "cotylodon"... what does it mean? i have a plant called cotylodonis, you see... i would be grateful for a little enlightenment, as you might sense :-D

Hermes said...

I'll let you explain cotylodon. Great pictures of a most unusual plant.

Hort Log said...

Hi kompostella,
My botanic knowledge is rudimentary but here goes:

All seed plants consists of an embryo and 1 or 2 cotyledons. Cotyledons store food for the seedings to sprout before it can make food from the sun eg as roots develop before the aerial shoots, it need some energy to break through the seed coat and penetrate the soil. Usually, cotyledon can also function as the first leaf/leaves of the seed and hence play a part in the early photosynthesis process. By looking at the first leaf / leaves of the seed, you can determine if the plant belongs to what botanists call Monocot (1 first leaf) or Dicot (2 first leaves).

Coming back to this plant - its a Dicot (as in all African Violets) but instead of developing both paired leaves one of them became suppressed. This type of growth pattern appears to be quite common amongst members of this family - I had previously shown a Chirita in this blog and elsewhere, there's also Strepcocarpus from Africa.

If you do a dig on any search engine you should be able to turn up more on this subject matter - hope it helps.

Cheers

Hort Log said...

Hi Phillip,
an obscure plant like this usually do not catch any attention from casual travellers...but I happen to be keeping an eye on things like these ...hehe

Hermes said...

I just wish I could come along on one of your walks - you have such a keen eye.

kompoStella said...

oh, now i'm overwhelmed! thank you ever so much for taking the time to reply in such depth. enlightenment, indeed!
i've taken the liberty to post your reply - mentioning where it comes from off course - as i think any pelargonium collector would be interested... and probably other gardenistas as well. i hope it's ok with you, otherwise please let me know and i'll remove the post asap.
hep!

Linda Lunda said...

Hi! This was a werry interesting post! Thanks!
Linda

Titania said...

Hi; I have tried a few places for the seed you are after. It seems to be very elusive. I will try a few other places. I have so far not been successful.
Your last post is so interesting with this one leaf plant. It looks great how they grow from a rock. What interesting plants are growing in this nature of ours.

Hort Log said...

actually there are more interesting 1-leaf plants...let me dig my archive....

and Trudi, appreciate your help very much, looks like I may have to make a trip to FNQ myself

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