Husby, Chad .
Ecophysiology of Equisetum giganteum in the Atacama Desert, northern Chile.
The giant horsetail, Equisetum giganteum, is one of the largest living members of a highly distinctive pteridophyte genus. This species has a remarkably wide latitudinal range, extending from Cuba to central Chile and Argentina. Equisteum giganteum also grows in a wide variety of habitats ranging from the edges of tropical forests to temperate wetlands. Among the most remarkable habitats in which E. giganteum grows are the river valleys of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. Along with intense solar radiation and a highly dessicating atmosphere, soil salinity greatly restricts native and cultivated plant diversity in these valleys. Of the handful of pteridophytes found in these habitats, E. giganteum is the only species that constitutes a major vegetation component, often forming dense stands of stems reaching heights of more than 4 m and diameters of up to 3.5 cm. Because pteridophytes rarely exhibit salinity tolerance, it is intriguing that E. giganteum is able to thrive in such an environment. I will report findings of ongoing field studies of water relations and photosynthetic physiology of E. giganteum in the Atacama Desert.
contains detailed information on the biology of the giant horsetails, Equisetum gigantetum , E. myriochaetum and E. x schaffneri
1 - Florida International University, Biological Sciences, 11200 SW 8th St., OE167, Miami, Florida, 33174, USA
Presentation Type: Paper
Location: Superior B (Cliff Lodge)
Date: Monday, August 2nd, 2004
Time: 2:45 PM