Observation of the Week, 9/21/17

Our Observation of the Week is this Euphorbia ankarensis plant, seen in Madagascar by @fabienrahaingo!

Apologies for the tardiness of this blog post, but this week’s observer, Fabien Rahaingoson, has been busy in the field and wasn’t able to get back to me until now. He’s currently spending most of his time collecting seeds and herbs for the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership with the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. “I collect the seeds with local communities and at the same time I also collect these specimen and send them to Kew and TAN herbarium here in Madagascar,” explains Fabien.

Fabien came across this Euphorbia ankarenesis while working with the community of Andavakoera, in northern Madagascar. It was growing in the Montagne des Français Protected Area. He was immediately interested in it, so he photographed it and added it to iNaturalist. Like other members of its fascinating genus, this plant exudes a milky-white toxic sap when cut, and its flowers are minimal, comprised of only the sexual organs needed for reproduction. Leaves and other plant structures have replaced petals and sepals as ways to attract pollinators. Euphorbia ankarensis lives in the rich humus that collects in limestone formations of the Falaise de l'Ankarana mountain range, from which it gets its species name. Fabien’s observation is one of only three that have been uploaded to iNaturalist so far, and the plant is considered Globally Endangered by the IUCN, threatened by fire, habitat loss, and collection for the plant trade.

Fabien and his colleagues add their observations to the Zavamaniry Gasy Plants of Madagascar project, part of a larger initiative funded by a grant from the JRS Biodiversity Foundation. “For this project we try to promote Malagasy plants with support of @TeamKMCC twitter account,” says Fabien. Thus far, over 10,000 observations of 2,418 species have been added to the project, with hopefully many more on the horizon.

- by Tony Iwane


- Madagascar has quite an array of botanical wonders, check out the over 100 faved observations from the Zavamaniry Gasy Plants of Madagascar project.

- Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank is pretty incredible, learn more about it here.

- Several years ago, our own @loarie visited Madagascar and made a short video of the trip! 

Posted by tiwane tiwane, September 22, 2017 00:49

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