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Flora of the upper Verde River, Arizona

Description

The Upper Verde River of central Arizona flows through a landscape of complex geology at the meeting of seven biotic communities and three physiographic provinces. This has resulted in notably

The Upper Verde River of central Arizona flows through a landscape of complex geology at the meeting of seven biotic communities and three physiographic provinces. This has resulted in notably diverse flora and fauna and a hub of rare and endemic plant species. The river has sustained cultures since pre-history, however current regional water use is predicted to diminish streamflow over the next century. Prior to this project, no floristic inventory had been conducted along any section of the Verde. The purpose of this study was to develop a Flora of the Upper Verde River, with the goals of documenting rare and endemic species, the composition and abundance of wetland plants, and the factors shaping plant diversity in the region.

I made a total of 1856 collections and reviewed past collections to produce a checklist of 729 vascular plant taxa in 403 genera and 98 families. The most species-rich family is the Poaceae, followed by Asteraceae and Fabaceae. The flora includes 159 wetland taxa, 47 endemics, and 26 taxa of conservation concern, eight of which are Federally listed. Several new populations were found in these categories and of rarely-collected taxa including one state record, three county records and several range extensions. I report on the local status of several endemics, wetland taxa with limited distributions, and relict populations of a tepary bean (Phaseolus acutifolius) that were likely transported to the region and cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures. I categorize thirteen distinct plant communities, the most abundant being Pinyon/Juniper Woodland, Chihuahuan/Apacherian Scrub, and Riparian Deciduous Forest.

Four primary factors influence floristic diversity of the Upper Verde region: 1) a location at the junction of three physiographic and floristic provinces—represented by co-occurrence of species with affinities to the Sonoran, Intermountain and Madrean regions, 2) geologic diversity—as distinct groups of species are associated with particular geologic types, 3) topographic and habitat complexity—allowing species adapted to disparate environments to co-occur, and 4) human introductions—since over 15% of the flora is composed of introduced species from Eurasia and several taxa were introduced to the region and cultivated by pre-Columbian cultures.

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Date Created
  • 2015

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A phylogenetic study of the plant family Martyniaceae (order Lamiales)

Description

Acceptance of the plant group Martyniaceae as a distinct family has long been questioned. Previously placed in the family Pedaliaceae, the Martyniaceae have been allied to numerous other families within

Acceptance of the plant group Martyniaceae as a distinct family has long been questioned. Previously placed in the family Pedaliaceae, the Martyniaceae have been allied to numerous other families within the order Lamiales. The objectives of this study include the investigation of the placement of the Martyniaceae within the order Lamiales using molecular data (chloroplast DNA sequences), the further examination of the internal relationships of the Martyniaceae using an expanded nuclear and chloroplast sequences data set, and the construction of a taxonomic treatment of the family that includes all published names and taxa in the Martyniaceae. An analysis of the Lamiales using two chloroplast gene regions (ndhF and rps16) reveals that the Martyniaceae should be segregated from the family Pedaliaceae, but is not able to support the placement of any of its putatively-related families as sister to the Martyniaceae. Sequences from 151 taxa of the Lamiales are included in the analysis, including six representatives from the Martyniaceae. An analysis of the Martyniaceae using three chloroplast gene regions (psbA-trnH spacer, trnQ-5'rps16 intergenic spacer, and trnS-trnG-trnG spacer and intron) and the Internal Transcribed Spacer resolves two major clades within the Martyniaceae corresponding to the North American taxa (Martynia and Proboscidea) and the South American taxa (Craniolaria, Holoregmia, and Ibicella). Sequences from all five genera and 15 taxa were included in the analysis. Results from the molecular phylogenetic analyses are incorporated into a revised taxonomic treatment of the family. Five genera and thirteen species are recognized for the family Martyniaceae.

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Date Created
  • 2011