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Botany Photo of the Day
In science, beauty. In beauty, science. Daily.

Kabuyea hostifolia

Kabuyea hostifolia

Another nod of appreciation to Ton Rulkens (aka tonrulkens@Flickr) for sharing an excellent photograph (original image with Ton's comments | via Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool). Thanks!

Kabuyea hostifolia is a member of the Tecophilaeaceae, which is a relatively ancient lineage in the monocots. The family diverged about 108 million years ago. In present-day, members of the family can be found in Africa, Chile and a single species in California (Odontostomum hartwegii). Kabuyea hostifolia is native only to Mozambique and Tanzania in central eastern Africa. Ton notes the local name for the species in the Macua language is ikotcho.

Ton also suggests that the health and size for each unit of the series of corms (swollen underground stems) reflects annual growing conditions, in much the same way that the pattern of wood deposition in tree rings reflects ecological factors. I'm particularly intrigued by what occurred six years ago where the corm is narrower and / or smaller on three of the plants.

According to the Flora Zambesiaca, Kabuyea hostifolia is a species of "shady damp places in riverine forest or woodland 0-700 m". The IUCN Red List details a little bit more about the habitat and ecology of the species (and also ranks the species as "least concern", i.e., it is abundant and stable). Ton notes that it is a survival food plant for indigenous peoples, but the corms require much preparation before becoming edible. If unprepared, the corms are poisonous.

8 Comments

richierich commented:

interesting arangement of the corms,
Contractile roots pull the plant further into the soil to keep the current corm at the soil surface????????

michael aman commented:

Is kabuyea in the horticultural trade? And is it appropriate to temperate zones? Interesting how the corms indicate years like segments of the rhizomes of iris or Solomon's seal.

Eric Hunt commented:

Those storage organs are simply amazing!

Here is the one North American member of the family. It's quite a lovely spring wildflower in California:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/ericinsf/5678375359/

elizabeth a airhart commented:

thank you for another new to me plant one that
has been on earth longer then i have

super bowl time here in the states
anyone out there for the 49'rs

pretty moring here in florida

Alice commented:

What an incredible root system. Someone says 'like Solomon's Seal', however my SS does not do this, rather spreads laterally. Yes, I'm for the 49's Elizabeth.

Felipe commented:

Incredible plant !

Thank you guys...

Thank you Mr Mosquin for this vegetal discovery: it made my day!

As you can see, my last name is Kabuya... I was really surprise to learn that I was sharing my name with a plant from Africa, as my own father is from RDC! To reinforce this fabulous coincidence, my other last name is Racine, wich means «roots» in French...

And I'm a horticulturist...

Really, to know the existence of this plant with whom I share so many links fascinates me!

Daniel Mosquin commented:

Very nifty, Jasmine!

Comments are closed.

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