Colobanthus quitensis

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Colobanthus quitensis
Antarctic Pearlwort.jpg
Antarctic Pearlwort at St. Andrews Bay, South Georgia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Core eudicots
Order: Caryophyllales
Family: Caryophyllaceae
Genus: Colobanthus
Species: C. quitensis
Binomial name
Colobanthus quitensis
(Kunth) Bartl.

Colobanthus quitensis (Antarctic pearlwort) is one of the four flowering plants found in the Antarctic region.[1] 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.[2] Deschampsia antarctica (Antarctic hairgrass) is the only other native flowering plant in the Antarctic Continent.[3]

Botanical synonyms include Sagina quitensis.


  1. ^ Kozeretska, Iryna (2005), THE HERBARIUM OF ANTARCTIC VASCULAR PLANTS, National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, retrieved 9 February 2015 
  2. ^ 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 
  3. ^ 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 

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