|Antarctic Pearlwort at St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia|
Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) is one of the four flowering plants found in the Antarctic region. It occurs from Mexico until the northern continental edge of Antarctica Antarctic Peninsula, as well as in several Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands (South Orkney Islands, South Shetland Islands or King George Island). It has white flowers and grows about 5 cm (two inches) tall, with a cushion-like growth habit that gives it a moss-like appearance.
Due to a recent warming trend (see Global warming), more seeds are germinating, creating a large number of seedlings and plants. Reports indicate a fivefold increase in these plants, which have extended their ranges southward and cover more extensive areas, wherever found. This species extends south of 68° south latitude. Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hairgrass) is the only other native flowering plant in the Antarctic Continent.
Botanical synonyms include Sagina quitensis.
- Kozeretska, Iryna (2005), THE HERBARIUM OF ANTARCTIC VASCULAR PLANTS, National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, retrieved 9 February 2015
- Parnikova, Ivan (2011), "Vascular Plants of the Maritime Antarctic: Origin and Adaptation", American Journal of Plant Sciences (Institute of Molecular Biology and Genetics of National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine) 2: 381–395, doi:10.4236/ajps.2011.23044
- Lichens, Antarctic; Significance, Vascular Plants: Their; Rudolph, E. D. (Apr 1965), "American Institute of Biological Sciences", BioScience (American Institute of Biological Sciences) 15 (4): 285–287, doi:10.2307/1293425, JSTOR 1293425