Saturday, 13 March 2010

PLANT: Phelipanche schultzioides M J Y Foley, a new plant species

June 2005; 2006:
This parasitic plant was first discovered new to science on June 13, 2005, by Mike Porter and myself growing close to the roadside near the isolated village of Zarouchla, Peloponnese, Greece.

Despite very detailed attempts to establish its identity, it was found not to correspond to any known species. Consequently, the site was re-visited in June of the following year when material was collected for preservation, a full description made, and the identity of the host plant, Common Nettle (Urtica dioica) was established by excavation of the haustorial connection. Following this, a short paper was prepared for publication. During the course of this two further populations were discovered on Artemisio, a mountain within the same general area of the Peloponnese. This was by Constantinidis & Paraskevopoulos who found it to be parasitic on Urtica dioica and Euphorbia rigida, respectively. As the plant showed some characters superficially similar to Orobanche schultzii Mutel, this was reflected when it was named Phelipanche schultzioides on publication (see Foley, M J Y, Botanika Chronika 19(7): 5-12 (2008).

The village of Zarouchla near where the plant was first found.