Auerodendron pauciflorum

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Auerodendron pauciflorum
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rhamnaceae
Genus: Auerodendron
Species: A. pauciflorum
Binomial name
Auerodendron pauciflorum
Alain

Auerodendron pauciflorum is a rare species of flowering plant in the Rhamnaceae family. One English language common name is turtlefat.[2] It is endemic to Puerto Rico, where it is known from only one population in Isabela. At the time the plant was federally listed as an endangered species by the United States in 1994, only ten individual plants were known to exist.[3] By 1997, there were 19 known specimens.[4]

This shrub is native to the subtropical moist forests on the limestone hills in the northwestern corner of Puerto Rico. It was nearly eliminated due to several forces in its habitat. The land is privately owned and desirable for development with plans for construction of a resort and cell phone towers.[3] The hills are quarried for limestone and deforestation is ongoing.[3] The plant is already extremely rare, making it vulnerable to extinction from any one event.[3] Vandalism could significantly reduce the population.[3]

This is an evergreen shrub with black-dotted green leaves up to 15 centimeters long by 6 wide.[4] Two or three flowers occur in the leaf axils.[4]

The plant was discovered in 1976.[4] It is so rare that the fruit of the species has not been formally described to science and seedlings have not been noted.[3] When existing plants were surveyed and measured, only one or two were mature enough to reproduce.[4]

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